With the advent of the summer barbecue season the executive urged people to remain vigilant against the food bug despite publishing research that could lead to faster detection of the bacteria.
Scotland has seen the devastating effect that food poisoning caused by
E Coli can have. By following these simple steps when preparing food consumers can avoid the bug:
* Wash hands before and after handling raw meat
* Keep pets away from food and always wash hand after handling animals
* Ensure meat is cooked right through and follow cooking instructions carefully
* Cool leftovers before refrigerating and only heat them once
* Prepare and store raw and cooked food separately
Tests to detect E Coli O157 in food must be very sensitive, as it is thought that only a few bacterial cells are needed to cause illness. These tests must also be quick to detect these bacteria in short shelf-life foods (milk, cold meats) before they go on sale.
Recently completed executive funded research carried out by Professor Hugh Pennington's laboratory at Aberdeen University has shown that some tests may not always detect all E Coli O157 bacteria in a food.
Researchers working on the project found more sensitive and potentially quicker methods for detecting low numbers of stressed E Coli O157 bacteria in a wide range of food. These more sensitive methods of detection potentially signify safer food for the consumer.
1. The research project at the University of Aberdeen was funded as part of the Scottish executive's Rural Affairs Department's (SERAD),£50m per annum programme of agricultural and biological research. This project cost about£347,000.
2. More information on the SERAD programme of agricultural, biological and related research can be found here.