The federal food safety agency (FASFC) intervened twice in the course of this summer to deal with outbreaks of food poisoning at youth camps, the agency reports today.
That is one-quarter of the number of similar events in each of the previous three years.
“For years, the FASFC has been conducting awareness-raising campaigns about summer camps aimed at young people and their leaders,” the organisation says in a press release.
“But even when all precautions are taken, a food incident can occur. In that case, the inspectors of the FASFC go on site to find out the cause of the collective infection and to prevent other children from becoming ill as well.”
That involves taking a history of the latest meals eaten by campers, as well as examining where food and water come from and how food is being stored. Leftovers are taken for analysis, as are any available samples from those affected.
The intervention is also an opportunity to repeat the agency’s food and general hygiene advice. And hygiene advice in general may have helped contribute to the very low number of poisoning cases this year.
“Without wishing to draw a scientific conclusion, two factors can explain this positive outcome,” the agency says.
“The support and training of the FASFC and other bodies on good hygiene practices that are bearing fruit, in combination with a responsible management team. And the increased attention to hygiene measures in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19).”
Youth camps, the agency explains, do not come under the umbrella of FASFC’s routine inspection duties, but the agency does provide training on request.
“That way everyone can fully enjoy their summer camp. We don’t want to turn them into sterile laboratories, but we do teach them the essential reflexes to prevent incidents.”