11 mill. working days a year lost to stomach ...

11 mill. working days a year lost to stomach bugs

Campylobacter and norovirus were highlighted as two major causes of the 11 mill. working days lost in the UK economy every year because of stomach upsets.

The study, commissioned by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), found that 17 mill. people are struck down annually by infectious intestinal disease (IID), although not all are linked to food. The research carried out by a group of organisations led by the University of Manchester characterised IID as typically vomiting or diarrhoea, or a combination of the two.

The scientists identified campylobacter as the main cause of bacterial IID, responsible for around 500,000 cases annually. The FSA said the findings emphasises the need to reduce the high levels found on raw poultry in the UK.

The agency has highlighted tackling campylobacter as its number one food safety priority over the next five years and called on players throughout the supply chain - including processors and retailers - to improve their sanitary standards.

A recent FSA survey found that two thirds of chicken samples on sale within the UK were contaminated with the bacteria.

Other key findings of the research included: The17 mill. cases of IID annually is the equivalent of one in four people becoming ill during the year. Approximately 50% of people with IID took time off from work or school because of their symptoms. This represents nearly 19 mill. days lost - more than 11 mill. of these were in people of working age. For every case of IID recorded in national surveillance there are 147 that remain unreported.
Source: Food Standards Agency