Health Advice for Travellers to Poland and Ukraine for the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, which was published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) earlier this month, cautioned travelling soccer fans to be aware of botulism through contaminated food.
Poland Chief Sanitary Inspectorate (GIS) spokesman Jan Bondar told FoodQualityNews.com that the WHO warnings have very little “in common” with the Polish food industry.
The WHO-issued warning also gave advice on issues such as sexual behaviour, alcohol and drug abuse to supporters from countries including England, France and Russia that are planning to attend the June 2012 competition.
“Generally, food is not a problem in Poland. [We are] more afraid of sexually transmitted diseases,” Bondar said referring to the WHO advice.
Warnings not “in common”
“These warnings do not have much in common with the food industry, as for many years there has been no cases of botulinus intoxication caused by foodstuffs released onto the market. The major concern is the safety of food that may be brought into Poland by football fans (e.g. from Eastern Europe),” said Bondar.
“All recorded cases of botulinus intoxication in Poland, (up to 30 annually) resulted from food that was self-prepared and preserved for individual use, like home-canning of meat.”
“In fact Poland gas one of the lowest rates of food intoxications in Europe.”
The GIS spokesman confirmed that the agency has been in contact with its Ukrainian counterparts, and that principles of communication and border controls have been agreed.
“In Poland, we plan additional inspections of food before Euro 2012 and the use by companies of good hygienic practices,” he said.
The warning, which was jointly prepared by WHO and Polish and Ukrainian health authorities, came within weeks of a major food recall in Poland relating to food tainted with industrial salt.
European Union (EU) member states were put on warning after prosecutors in the country initiated legal action against three companies that sold industrial salt, which is typically used to de-frost roads, to food processors in the country as salt intended for human consumption.
At the time, prosecuting authorities in the country were trying to establish “over what time period the road salt was being put into the food products.”