Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

Editorial

Academic journal article Perspectives in Public Health

Editorial

Article excerpt

The weight of the law can fall heavily on those who put the general public at risk by ignoring food safety. The most serious recent example of this are the trials and harsh sentencing of those involved in the tainted milk scandal in China that led to six children dying and 300,000 falling ill. As a result China has launched a four-month food safety drive in its latest effort to restore consumer confidence in their food industry. Whilst there is much that concerns those working in public health in the UK about food consumption, unlike China, food safety is not necessarily seen as one of the most pressing 21st Century public health issues. This is partly because the UK population are protected by food hygiene legislation, with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) actively promoting research, education and taking responsibility for the general requirements and principles of food law. As a population, therefore, we can feel relatively confident that the food we choose to purchase to eat from retail and restaurant outlets is safe. Or can we?

It may be surprising to some that the FSA point to 500 people dying from food poisoning and an estimated 850,000 becoming ill in the UK every year. These figures are dwarfed by the estimate in this journal of 5.5 million of the UK population suffering from food-borne illnesses in any year (Ackerley pg. 67-68). Whilst Ackerley urges us not to assume that all of these cases are caused by rogue restaurants, her account of restaurants which have let food safety get out of control may put you off eating out for a while, or certainly until "Scores on the Doors" are available in your local eateries.

Other articles in this issue offer us alarming and sobering insights into why so many people suffer from food-borne infections, highlighting the food safety dangers from inside the domestic environment. …

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