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The great egg debate


Eggs are a good source of protein and contain many vitamins and minerals when eaten as part of a healthy, balanced diet however they are not without risk.


For those of you old enough to remember, Salmonella was the word most commonly associated with eggs. Comments made by the infamous Edwina Curry spurred the Nation into frenzy, causing egg sales to plummet by 60% leading to the slaughter of nearly 4 million hens due to lost revenue.


In the late 80’s there were around 12,000 cases of Salmonella reported in the UK, within  three years of the introduction of the Lion standard, where hens are vaccinated against Salmonella, in 1998 this figure had fallen by 54%. Last year in the UK there were only 229 reported cases.


Even with these reduced outbreaks people are still mistrustful of eggs. Salmonella is a bacteria found in the guts of animals. Cooking eggs will kill the bacteria or using pasteurised eggs, which usually come in liquid form, are safer.


Many of us are partial to a runny egg but there are certain vulnerable groups who we consider to be at risk from food poisoning, these are;


  • babies and toddlers
  • elderly people
  • pregnant women
  • people who are already unwell




It is not only cooking your eggs that will keep them safe but also how you store them. The salmonella bacteria may well be present on the shell of the egg. Store eggs in a cool, dry place, ideally in the fridge.


Store eggs away from other foods in the fridge and always eat dishes containing eggs as soon as possible after you’ve prepared them. If you’re not planning to eat them straight away, cool them quickly and then keep them in the fridge for up to two days. Cakes can safely be stored somewhere cool and dry as long as they don’t contain any additions such as custard or cream.


Foods that are made with raw eggs and then not cooked, or only lightly cooked, can cause food poisoning. This is because any bacteria in the eggs won’t be killed.


 Avoiding the spread of bacteria


Bacteria can spread very easily from eggs to other foods, as well as hands, utensils and worktops.


Keep the eggs away from other foods. If you drip or splash the raw egg make sure you clean it up with a disinfectant or sanitiser. Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly after touching eggs or working with them and don’t use eggs with damaged shells.


 ‘Best before’ dates of eggs


Eggs can be eaten a day or two after their ‘best before’ date as long as they are cooked thoroughly until both yolk and white are solid, or if they are used in dishes where they will be fully cooked, such as a cake.


Remember it is not only eggs that can cause food poisoning, bacteria have been found in other foods you are less likely to suspect such as celery, peanut butter and even bean sprouts.


To find out more try one of our food safety courses here





Why is First Aid training so important?


First Aid training should form a vital part of your organisations emergency procedures. The HSE states that every employer must be able to provide treatment, not just for their staff, but for visitors, contractors and anyone else using their premises.

Think about what could happen if a member of your staff suddenly stopped breathing and nobody knew what to do. Not only could that person die but your organisation could be open to litigation by the family of the deceased.

Even in the safest of workplaces such as offices and shops, accidents still happen. It is essential that trained staff are in place who can effectively and efficiently deal with an emergency situation.

First Aid is a skill set that sits all on its own. Not only can you use these skills at work but in your home life too. The function of First Aid is simply to fill the time gap between the incident happening and getting your casualty to the emergency services!

There are many benefits to First Aid. Administering CPR and other treatment can save lives! First Aid can also reduce permanent damage to a casualty by preventing the condition from deteriorating and finally First Aid can reduce time taken or lost from work which is an important factor for any business.

To find out more on how to get your staff First Aid trained click here

Give a toss about food safety?


It’s Shrove Tuesday! A great excuse to indulge in a pancake or two but remember to give a toss about food safety!

Believe it or not the tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday began as a way to use up ingredients that were not supposed to be eaten and would go off/ spoil during the period of Lent. So, actually, “pancake day” as we now call it, owes its origins all to food safety.

Food Safety starts with your ingredients.

Eggs, flour & butter all have best before dates- so they are best eaten before the date marked. Depending on your choice of toppings, they may have use by dates. This means the product must be eaten by the date or disposed of.

Are your ingredients stored correctly? Milk needs to be kept refrigerated at all times to prevent the milk from spoiling, preferably below 5 degrees centigrade. (the pasteurisation process does not kill all the bugs).

It is also better to store your milk on the shelf in your fridge rather than in the door as the shelves are cooler. This way your milk will stay fresher for longer.

Eggs are a raw food & the shells cannot be completely disinfected – so store them away from ready to eat foods. Make sure you wash your hands after handling them!

Make sure that your flour is stored in a dry cupboard but always make sure you check packaging for damage pests love dried goods!

Finally when you’re making your pancakes make sure that you cook them thoroughly and do not leave any mixture uncooked on part of the pancake. Undercooking foods such as eggs can be dangerous, particularly for the elderly, children and pregnant women.

What toppings would you choose? Whatever you like, as long as the product is within its use by date.
Happy Pancake Day! For further information on our food safety courses click here

Food Poisoning and Rice, do you know who to balme?


Saturday night’s take away can often look appealing on a Sunday morning, especially if you’ve had a late night! For those of you that can’t resist reheating this tempting cuisine it can often lead to severe stomach cramps, sickness and diarrhoea. We are quick to blame last night’s ale or the meat from our favourite Takeaway. Well, here’s the surprise, your bout of food poising is probably from your rice!  

The food poisoning bacteria Bacillu cereus is naturally found in cereals such as rice.  Washing rice will not help avoid the potential problem and surprisingly neither does cooking! 

How is food poisoning caused? 

Bacillus cereus bacteria are heat resistant. They survive cooking by forming protective spores. This is basically like a heat resistant jacket that the bacteria like to wear in unfavourable conditions. When the temperature conditions are again favourable (for example rice is left on your kitchen work surface for a prolonged period of time), the spores germinate, or take off their protective jackets, and Bacillus bacteria are released into the food, now able to grow and multiply.

As the Bacillus bacteria multiply in your rice, they produce a waste product which is poisonous to us (called an exotoxin). This toxin is heat stable, and therefore, even if the rice is thoroughly reheated before consumption, it will still be present in the food.  The poison affects the upper gastrointestinal tract and the consequences of eating food containing the toxin are that we shall experience abdominal cramps and vomiting within 1 to 5 hours after eating, with the symptoms lasting 6 to 24 hours.

This is not the only danger with rice – it can have a ‘double whammy’ effect.  If the Bacillus bacteria are eaten whole i.e. the food is not piping hot before consumption, the bacteria are broken down in our intestines where they release another type of poison (called an endo toxin).   The effects of this toxin take around 8-12 hours after eating to take effect, and the symptoms are mainly stomach pain and diarrhoea.  Symptoms last 1-2 days.

So, in short, eat your rice as soon as it’s cooked. Never reheat rice and don’t leave your take away out at room temperature!

For further information and advice on Food safety why not come along to one of our courses?



First Aid treatment for cardiac arrest


Keeping to our heart theme for this week, we promised you some advice on dealing with First Aid situations. All of us are familiar with the term CPR but how many of us know what is it, why we do it or even how to do it?

according to the British Heart Foundation only one third of cardiac arrest victims actually receive CPR, and this is mainly due to a lack of First Aid training, knowledge and above all, confidence.

CPR is the acronym for cardio pulmonary resuscitation. This is the action you need to take when the heart stops. Unless someone starts CPR within a few minutes permanent damage can be caused to the brain and other major organs as the oxygenated blood is no longer being pumped around the body, and this can, of course, lead to death.

If you suspect your casualty has gone into cardiac arrest check for breathing. If you cannot hear normal breathing you must call 999 or 112 then start CPR.

Clasp your hands together. Keep your knuckles upwards facing your chest and lock your elbows. Push down on the centre of the chest about 5-6cm. Push hard and fast, 100-120 beats per minute. This is what we call “hands only” CPR. This is to be used when you have not been trained to give rescue breaths. Keep going and don’t stop until the emergency services arrive.

Trained First Aiders should give full CPR to include rescue breaths.

If you would like to know more or are interested in learning CPR have a look at our courses.

The importance of First Aid when dealing with cardiac arrest


According to the West Midlands Ambulance Service 2012/2013 data, survival rates for patients suffering cardiac arrest currently stand at 10.1%. Shocking you may think, but is the fault of our highly trained and professional emergency responders? The answer is no, definitely not!

The reason for such low survival rates is due to the lack of awareness and understanding of general First Aid procedures from us, the public. If more of us were given the opportunity to train and practice cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) these grim statistics could be dramatically improved.

Contrary to popular belief a heart attack and cardiac arrest is NOT the same thing. A heart attack can be identified by recognising early symptoms, a pain in the left arm, chest pain, or in some, a mild discomfort. Heart attack is commonly confused with indigestion, but never again! It is caused by a lack of blood flow and oxygen to an area of the heart muscle; however, if this is not treated urgently a heart attack can, but not always, lead to cardiac arrest, where the heart stops completely. If this happens, the casualty will lose consciousness immediately and there will be no other signs of life.

If this happens you need to respond quickly. Call 112! You know you will need a defibrillator. Start CPR. The sooner CPR is started the better your casualty’s chance of survival. For every minute that goes by where CPR is not administered your casualty’s survival rate decreases by 10%.

Would you know what to do if this happened to someone you love? For further information on our First Aid courses please see First Aid courses