Shoppers are being warned to take care when purchasing and cooking turkey and chicken at home following a rise in food poisoning cases.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA), along with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), has urged people to be wary following the increase in illnesses caused by Salmonella Enteritidis linked to products imported from Poland.

There have been more than 200 human cases of salmonellosis caused by the strain of the bacteria this year, linked to poultry products such as meat and eggs.

The FSA is in discussion with officials in Poland and the EU to ensure all necessary steps are taken to improve the safety of poultry and eggs imported from Poland.

Tina Potter, head of incidents at the FSA, said: “You should always check the cooking instructions on food packaging, as different brands of the same type of product might have different instructions.

“Cooking food at the right temperature and for the correct length of time will ensure that any harmful bacteria are killed.

“At the same time, make sure that any surfaces and equipment that come into contact with food are clean to avoid risks from cross contamination and always wash your hands before and after handling food.

“A number of the cases have involved the consumption of eggs produced in Poland and used in meals in restaurants and cafes.

“We are therefore asking local authorities to remind food businesses about the importance of good hygiene practices.”

Lesley Larkin, from the UKHSA, added: “Salmonella is a type of stomach bug that causes stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. Symptoms typically resolve themselves within a few days, however, they can be more severe with fever and dehydration, especially in young children, those who are pregnant and those with weakened immune systems.

“Salmonella can be spread from person to person as well as from food, so anyone affected should follow good hygiene practices, such as washing hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and avoiding handling food for others where possible, if you have symptoms.”

To avoid contracting any illnesses, the FSA recommends you:

  • Follow cooking and storage instructions on the product label, including the cooking time and temperature - this is important to ensure that the food is safe when consumed
  • Use or freeze products by their use-by date
  • Wash hands thoroughly after handling raw poultry products
  • Never wash raw poultry products
  • Clean all surfaces and utensils with hot soapy water after contact with raw poultry
  • Only reheat cooked and frozen meat once

The FSA also say: “Babies, children, pregnant women, and older people should only eat runny or raw eggs if they have a British Lion mark or are produced under the Laid in Britain egg assurance scheme. This advice does not apply to individuals who are severely immunocompromised.”