Beat the Bingo Bug!

To help stop the rise in food poisoning in the over 60s caused by the food bug listeria, the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland, safefood and district councils in Northern Ireland have produced a game packed with hygiene messages. The game is called 'Beat the Bingo Bug!'

The game has been created because the reported number of cases of food poisoning caused by the food bug listeria has more than doubled in the over 60s since 2000. Although relatively rare, listeria can cause severe and sometimes life-threatening illness.

Listeria can live and grow in food, even at fridge temperatures – albeit slowly. It’s found in chilled ready-to-eat food such as pâté, and soft cheese such as Camembert and Brie or others with a similar rind.

The Agency wants to use the bingo game to highlight the importance of sticking to ‘use by’ dates, following storage instructions on food labels and making sure the fridge is at the right temperature (between 0°C and 5°C).

The bingo game, for use with groups that get together socially, covers five themes – choosing food, cooking, chilling, cleaning and preventing cross-contamination of germs. The game conveys 100 food safety messages. Instead of the usual bingo numbers, messages such as ‘Don’t miss that date’ and ‘Chill out’ are read out and the players then have to match them on their bingo cards.

The game was first produced for Food Safety Week 2009.