Suzie Moo hoofs it to the Balmoral Show

Wednesday, 13 May 2009.  ‘Suzie Moo’, the cartoon cow who knows all about good food safety, is making tracks to this year’s Balmoral Show to remind consumers about the importance of washing hands and good food hygiene.

New research (1) from safefood reveals that surfaces in 90% of kitchens tested after food had been prepared and served were found to be contaminated with raw meat bacteria. This highlights how germs can easily spread around the kitchen through contact with contaminated surfaces and hands.

Dr. Gary Kearney, Director, Food Science, safefood said, “Our Suzie Moo stand this year is a fun way of reminding parents and children about the importance of good hygiene, whether living on a farm, visiting an open farm or in your own kitchen at home. Food poisoning bacteria like E. coli O157 can be picked up through contact with animals. By following some simple steps like proper handwashing and thorough cleaning of surfaces and utensils after preparing raw meat, people can prevent germs spreading around their kitchen and protect themselves and their loved ones from food poisoning.”

Interactivity is a key feature of the safefood stand where the public will get to learn “first hand” about food safety risks when in contact with animals and see how cross contamination happens in a demonstration kitchen and how these risks can be avoided. Suzie Moo will also be on hand herself with free copies of safefood’s “Staying safe down on the farm” leaflet and poster which gives practical advice in colourful cartoons and easy to follow steps.

The safefood “Suzie Moo” stand is in the main King’s Hall and will be open throughout the Balmoral Show with family prizes of passes to Belfast Zoo to give away each day.

Ends

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For further information or to request an interview, please contact:
Kathy Doyle / Claire Hutchinson Smarts
Telephone: 028 9039 5509 / 028 9039 5512
Email: kathy.doyle@smarts.co.uk / claire.hutchinson@smarts.co.uk

References

(1) safefood research project RESR-08-2007 “Assessment of the Critical Control Points during Domestic Food Preparation on the island of Ireland”; University College Dublin and University of Ulster.

Editor’s Notes

Suzie Moo’s tips for staying safe on the farm:

  • Wear clothes that are right for being on a farm; for example, wellies or good strong shoes – not sandals.
  • Make sure that any cuts or grazes you have are covered with waterproof dressings.
  • It might seem like great fun, but don’t kiss animals or allow them to lick your face. Don’t suck your fingers or put anything you find in your mouth.
  • When you’re with the animals or in the animal area, don’t eat or drink anything – and never eat animal food or pick up any food from the ground.
  • Unless someone working on the farm gives you permission, don’t touch any tools, for example spades or forks. And never touch any animal droppings.
  • After visiting the animal area, always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, rinse in running water and dry thoroughly.
  • Eat only in areas where you have been told it’s OK. Wash your hands with soap and warm water and dry them properly before you start to eat.
  • Eat only food you have brought with you, or food you have bought from a food shop on the farm.
  • Don’t drink from any taps unless they are clearly marked that it’s OK to drink from them.
  • Don’t drink unpasteurised or raw milk.
  • Don’t leave any food lying around behind you. Take it home or put it in waste bins provided.
  • Make sure you clean your wellies or shoes and then wash and dry your hands properly before you leave the farm.

Food hygiene tips from safefood:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly using soap and warm water before preparing food and after handling raw meat and poultry.
  • Cook poultry, pork and minced meat products thoroughly and make sure they are piping hot all the way through, with no pink meat remaining and the juices running clear.
  • Keep chilled foods refrigerated until it is time to eat them - don't leave them standing around.
  • Store raw meat and poultry separately from ready to eat foods and avoid transferring germs during food preparation by washing all surfaces and utensils thoroughly after handling raw meat and poultry and before preparing ready-to-eat foods.