First Maltese Food Safety Week starts today

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First Maltese Food Safety Week
The first Maltese Food Safety Week is being held between today and the 22nd of May. Its aim is to increase awareness and inform the Maltese general public about the latest information on how to maintain food hygiene and food safety at home. This campaign is the end result, following data showing that the number of food poisoning cases at home has been increasing in recent years. In fact 56 more cases of food poisonings occurring in the home were notified to the Department of Public Health in 2007, than in the previous year.

The Food Safety Week is an awareness-raising campaign on food safety and involves various adverts that have been prepared. These include:

a) two ’20-second’ television adverts,

b) a ’10-second’ and a ’20-second’ radio adverts

These will be aired on various local television and radio stations respectively throughout Food Safety Week. The themes of the two television adverts focus on the proper technique of hand-washing and on the importance of food separation and the maintenance of adequate hygiene levels all throughout food preparation process in home kitchens. Besides hand washing, the other radio advert addresses the importance of adequate temperatures, i.e. maintaining hot foods above 63°C and cold foods below 5°C.

Other Adverts on local Sunday newspapers have appeared last Sunday to anticipate Food Safety Week, whereas another set of adverts will appear next Sunday (18th May). Newspaper articles have been prepared and will be published on local English and Maltese newspapers throughout this week.

As part of this year’s Food Safety Week, a new 28-page booklet to address various food hygiene and food safety issues in the home was published and will be freely distributed to the general public upon request. As summer is approaching, this booklet may prove useful to the general public as it also deals with food safety issues during barbeques, which is a very popular summer outing among Maltese families and friends. The booklet also gives further contact details when dealing with cases of food poisonings, food safety complaints as well as in cases of infestation.

Since this year’s Food Safety Week deals with food safety at home, it should therefore reach out to communities!

Over the past months, in collaboration with the Department of Local Government, all local councils have been invited to inform the department of their participation so that a presentation on food safety issues at home, is carried out within local council premises where local people will be able to clarify any individual queries on the subject matter. About eleven local councils have so far contacted the department. We would like to encourage the mayors of other local councils to follow suit, in helping us convey this important health message within all the local communities.

This year’s Food Safety Week was made possible thanks also to the contribution of other public entities which include: the Food Safety Commission, the Department of Environmental Health and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

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