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School children must be educated about food safety within the national curriculum if the public is to enjoy a safer...
School children must be educated about food safety within the national curriculum if the public is to enjoy a safer food environment, according to the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). The call was made by David Statham, chairman of the CIEH food committee, in a speech to the national food safety conference in London.

He said: 'It is essential that food hygiene is taught in our schools to at least the equivalent of the basic food hygiene level. Many schools have programmes where children are taught to cook and as part of those programmes there must be an explanation of the hazards associated with cooking and preparing food.'

He added that this should be integrated into a wider national public education campaign which would be targeted to provide simple and clear messages about safe preparation and storage of food.

'It is important that the public education campaign targets specific groups who may be particularly at risk from food-borne infection. This will involve providing sound advice to mothers of young children, the elderly and the immuno-compromised. It is also important that for the caring professions food safety is part of their core training'.

Mr Statham, however, reminded delegates that the food industry has the primary responsibility to ensure safe food. 'What is required is a huge educational exercise to raise awareness in industry about food borne disease and its prevention. Compulsory training of food handlers and licensing of food businesses is the most effective way forward'.

The issues of food safety will be discussed more fully at the 1997 environmental health congress in Bournemouth next week 9-12 September. Jeff Rooker MP Minister for Food Safety will address delegates with Professor Tim Lang on Thursday 11 September at 2pm.

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