19 Jun 2012
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has published research which shows there are around 1.7 million cases of food poisoning each year in England and Wales – working out at an average of 33,160 cases a week.
The agency is using the figures to remind people of the importance of good hygiene in the kitchen. They found that the most common bacteria likely to cause food poisoning are campylobacter with 338,000 cases a year, clostridium perfringens with 168,000 cases and salmonella with 73,000 cases.
All three of these bacteria are found in the guts of people and animals, as well as in the general environment. Infection from them is often caused by handling or eating undercooked meat and fish.
According to the report poultry is the highest cause of food poisoning, with 29% of food poisoning cases caused by poultry – but this is partly because of the high proportion of people who eat chicken. Following poultry, the next biggest causes were red meat at 17% and seafood at 7%.
At the other end of the spectrum, the foods least likely to lead to food poisoning are cooked vegetables, fruit and rice.
Copyright Press Association 2012