There has been a big increase in the
amount of food poisoning and health problems in Scotland caused by the
Health Protection Scotland said
campylobacter poisonings had increased by at least a fifth this year.
More than 3,000 cases have already been
reported in 2009, compared with 2,546 during the same period last year.
Campylobacter is known as the barbecue
bug because it can be caught from poorly-cooked food.
It is carried by animals, especially
Health Protection Scotland said the
number of cases this year was the highest in the first 28 weeks of any year
The increase has been seen across most
Scottish mainland NHS board areas.
There were 146 reports of campylobacter
in Ayrshire and Arran during the first 28 weeks of 2008, but problems with
the reporting of laboratory data meant only six cases had been confirmed
The actual number of cases in Scotland
was therefore even higher than the 3,033 which had been officially
recorded, the public health body added.
Campylobacter is one of the most common
forms of food poisoning. Symptoms include severe diarrhoea, cramps and
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has
issued cooking tips aimed as reducing cases of food poisoning.
They included defrosting meats
thoroughly before barbecuing them, keeping raw and cooked foods separate
and cooking poultry, burgers, sausages and other meats until there are no
pink bits in the middle and the juices run clear.
Public health consultant Doctor
Michelle Gillies said: "Barbecues and picnics are great in the summer
but what we want to reiterate is that a few safety precautions will ensure
everyone stays healthy and happy.
"Barbecues, in particular, can result
in people undercooking food, raw meat and ready to eat foodstuffs not being
kept separate, food not being thoroughly defrosted and cooking utensils
being used for raw and cooked foods.
She added: "If people follow our
tips they can enjoy their barbecues and picnics without worrying about
sickness and diarrhoea a few days later."