People risking health with out of date food
People are taking more risks with their health because their finances have become tighter since the start of the economic downturn.
A recent Food Standards Agency survey found that the more people struggle with money, the more likely they are to consume produce which is unhealthy.
Of the 2,000 people questioned, more than half said that they have tried to make their finances go further by making better use of leftover food.
For some this meant eating foods which are past their best-by dates as well as keeping foods refrigerated for longer periods than is advisable.
Typically, the number of people suffering from food poisoning goes up during the summer months because warmer weather allows bacteria to multiple at a much more rapid rate than during the winter.
Bob Martin, a food safety expert at the Food Standards Agency, said: "With most of us seeing our weekly shopping bills increase over the last few years, we are all looking for ways to get the most out of our shopping budget.
"Using leftover food is a good way of making our meals go further. However, unless we're careful, there's a chance we can risk food poisoning by not storing or handling them properly."
He added that many people smell food to see if it is still good enough to eat but bugs such as E.coli and Salmonella do not cause foods to smell off even when they have grown to dangerous levels. So produce which looks and smells perfectly OK could still lead to a person suffering.
Andrew Wilson of the British Dietetic Association said that while many food manufacturers post cautious dates on their produce, it is always good to follow the guidelines, especially where high risk foods such as meat and fish are concerned.