A survey showed many who ordered from ‘home’ takeaways felt sick afterwards (Picture: Getty)
As the ability to go to restaurants was taken away at the start of lockdown last year, as a nation we became obsessed with takeaways and buying food online.
According to a new study by cookware company Oliver’s Kitchen has found that we’ve also found some food vendors in the last year, not always with great results.
The survey of 5,000 people across age and location in the UK revealed that 79% of Brits have bought home-cooked meals from unregistered social media chefs over the past 12 months, and a tenth (9%) reported feeling unwell after their purchase.
This 9% said they suffered with either tummy ache or diarrhoea following a purchase from a social media chef, and more than a third (34%) were concerned with the appearance/smell of the food and its packaging when it arrived.
You may notice on Facebook marketplace or your Instagram feed that you can buy everything from cakes to roast dinners, with have-a-go caterers selling items they’ve cooked in their own kitchens.
This poses a big worry for the Food Standards Authority (FSA), who are trying to regulate these vendors and ensure they’re not selling food that could make people sick.
By law, those wanting to start a food business from home need to register with their local authority, who will complete a Food Hygiene Inspection.
Food businesses must also use HACCP procedures or a HACCP-based Food Safety Management System, as approved by the Government.
But how do you know that what you’re buying is safe, and won’t have you running to the loo.
Is it dangerous to eat from an unregistered takeaway?
While you might not always get ill buying food from unregulated businesses, you’re running the gauntlet with your health.
Five of the most common illnesses from food include Salmonella, Norovirus, Campylobacter, E. Coli, and Listeria.
If you land yourself with any of these, you can experience symptoms like a sore stomach or nausea, or even temporary paralysis and arthritis.
For babies, pregnant people, or those with a weakened immune system, Listeria could be fatal if left untreated.
How to spot a legitimate food vendor
The process to find out is actually very easy, but you need to know where to look.
According to the survey, more than a third of respondents said they had no idea businesses needed to be registered, so awareness is the first hurdle.
Michael Jackson, Head of Regulatory Compliance at the Food Standards Agency tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Our advice to people when ordering food online is to check that the business has a food hygiene rating and choose only those with a rating of 3 or above, this can be checked on our website or by asking the seller directly.
‘If a consumer has any doubts about a food seller or a food product, they should report them to the local authority.
‘It’s a key priority for us to make sure that all those involved in online marketplace selling meet their responsibilities to ensure that food is safe and what it says it is.
‘Anyone wishing to sell food online must register as a food business with their local authority. Where sellers do not follow the rules, they may be fined, imprisoned for up to 2 years or both.’
While we all love supporting local businesses and trying new foods, those businesses need to ensure they’re following best practice, and we need to avoid getting ill from their dodgy dinners.
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