COOK IT, EAT IT OR FREEZE IT – DON’T THROW IT
Freeze food, rather than throw it away – that’s Croydon council’s message for Food Safety Week (4 to 10 July).
The food safety team are urging residents to make smarter use of their home freezers to safely waste less food – and to help the family budget.
New research from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revealed that 68 per cent of UK adults report that they have thrown food away in the past month.
More than a third (36pc) of those who had thrown away food said they did so as it was past its use-by date. Other top reasons for throwing food away include buying too much and not eating it, which was reported by 30pc of people; and not having the chance to eat food before it went off, which almost a quarter (23pc) gave as an excuse for putting food in the bin.
This contributes to the seven million tonnes of food that is wasted in the UK each year which, according to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, costs each household around £470 annually.
The council is backing the FSA’s campaign to encourage residents to help tackle the problem of food waste by planning ahead and, if necessary, to freeze food within its use-by date if there is a chance you could throw it away once the use-by date expires.
Croydon’s cabinet member for communities, safety and justice Cllr Hamida Ali said: “Lots of people think food can be frozen only on the day of purchase, but the freezer is like a pause button and you can safely freeze most foods right up to the use-by date.
“You can even cook defrosted meat into a new meal and freeze it to eat on another day. “With so much food being thrown away in the UK each year, we’re encouraging residents to think about how they can use their freezers more, rather than putting food in the bin.
“While food is kept safe in the freezer, it’s the quality that deteriorates over time, so it’s recommended to eat it within three to six months, and check for any freezing instructions on the packaging.
“Once defrosted, the pause button is off, so thaw food as and when you need it and eat it within 24 hours of it being fully defrosted.”
Kevin Hargin, head of foodborne disease control at the FSA said: “Our research shows that many of the fears the public has about freezing food are unfounded and we need to ensure they know the facts.
“31pc of the people we spoke to said that more information about how to safely freeze food would help them to reduce their food waste. “That’s why freezing is the focus of this year’s Food Safety Week.”
For more information on freezing food safely, visit www.food.gov.uk/useby or follow @foodgov #EatitCookitFreezeit on Twitter for tips and advice throughout Food Safety Week. (Source: Croydon council press release)
BEWARE SMOOTH TELEPHONE OPERATORS
Many people, particularly trusting older folk, believe that the personal approach of a telephone call cannot possibly mean that the sincere-sounding voice on the end of the line is trying to con them out of their hard-earned money.
Sadly, all too often, that is exactly what is being attempted and, as part of this year’s Scams Awareness Month, running throughout July, Croydon council’s trading standards team are working to alert residents to the ways in which these heartless con artists go about their criminal business.
The central message to residents this year is to encourage them to take a moment, and trust their gut instinct. That pause for breath will give them time to get advice, report the scam, and tell others about their experience.
Working in partnership with the Citizens’ Advice Service, the team will be focusing, on a week-by-week basis, on different types of scams, and providing real-life case studies of incidents that have happened to Croydon residents.
The focus for the first of the four weeks of the campaign is on telephone scams, and concerns two incidents that occurred in June, the first in Purley and the other in South Norwood.
Case study 1
An elderly householder was having difficulty getting his tablet to work, and his internet connection kept going down.
He contacted his internet service provider but was unable to get the matter resolved. He then found the phone number for a business with a similar sounding name to his service provider.
On calling the business, he was persuaded that it worked on behalf of his service provider, and was told that both his tablet and internet connection could be fixed – if he paid £1,600 via MoneyGram to a person in Nepal.
He made the payment but became concerned the next day when he received a telephone call telling him that the £1,600 had not gone through, and asking him to resend the money.
The people he had paid were scammers and the police are currently investigating the incident.
Case study 2
A consumer received a telephone call from a caller claiming to be from internet provider Talk Talk, and stating that they would be able to fix issues with the resident’s internet, but, to do so, she would have to grant access to her computer.
The consumer agreed and went to her local post office to arrange a MoneyGram transfer of the fee demanded by the caller – £2,438. The caller took control of the resident’s computer and installed a malware program – effectively giving the caller access to information stored on the computer’s hard drive.
The consumer has been unable to recover her money from either Talk Talk or her bank.
Croydon’s cabinet member for communities, safety and justice Cllr Hamida Ali said: “These are very sad cases, but are only two examples of the range of telephone scams.
“There are many variations, but the aim of all of them is the same as any scam – to part consumers from their hard-earned cash.
“Everybody should beware telephone calls from strangers promising large prize wins. “If you have a suspicion that it might be somebody trying to scam you, explain that you’re going to hang up and ask them to call back at a later time when you’ll have a family member or a friend with you.”
What can consumers do to tackle scams?
Here are three things that residents can do if they suspect they are the target of a scam.
• Get advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service online at www.citizensadvice.org.uk or by calling 03454 04 05 06. More information about Scams Awareness Month can be found atwww.citizensadvice.org.uk/sam16/
• Report scams and suspected scams to Action Fraud online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. Reporting can help prevent it happening to others. If debit cards, online banking or cheques are involved in the scam, the consumer’s first step should be to contact their bank or card company.
• Tell family, friends, neighbours so that they can avoid scams.
Next week’s focus will be on online scams. Look out for scams publicity, displays and talks in the borough throughout July. (Source: Croydon council press release)
PRIVATE FOSTER CARERS URGED TO GET IN TOUCH
In Private Fostering Week from 4 July, Bromley council are reminding residents that those caring for children who are not their own for more than 28 days must get in touch, by law.
A private fostering arrangement is essentially one that is made privately, without the involvement of a local authority, for the care of a child under the age of 16 (under 18, if disabled) by someone other than a parent or close relative and lasting for 28 days or more.
Private foster carers may be from the extended family, such as a cousin or great aunt. But a person who is a relative such as a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether full or half blood or by marriage) or step-parent will not be a private foster carer.
A private foster carer may be a friend of the family, the parent of a friend of the child, or someone previously unknown to the child’s family who is willing to privately foster a child.
The child must be cared for and accommodated by the private foster carer continuously, with the exception of occasional short breaks and there may be exemptions under the Children Act 1989.
Bromley’s executive member for care services Cllr Robert Evans said: “It is often at difficult times that private foster carers step in to do a good job of caring for children who need their help.
“But to make sure they are getting the support they need and to comply with the law we want to send out a message to private foster carers and parents to get in touch if this arrangement goes on continuously for 28 days or more.”
As well as appealing to members of the public, the council are also asking school and health professionals to help spread the word.
If you know about a private fostering arrangement then you must contact Bromley children’s social care referral and assessment service at the civic centre. Please call weekdays on 020 8461 7373, email: [email protected] or visithttps://bromley.mylifeportal.co.uk/privatefostering (Source: Bromley council press release)