The FSA has kicked off the first phase of its new post-E.coli veg safety campaign, with the launch of press ads in Northern Ireland.

The ads aim to raise consumer awareness of the importance of good hygiene practices when handling raw veg and carry the strapline ‘Vegetables - best served washed’.

They advise that veg should be washed, peeled or cooked before eating, and stored and prepared separately from ready-to-eat foods. They also tell consumers to use different chopping boards and utensils for raw and ready-to-eat foods and to wash hands after handling raw vegetables.

Michael Jackson, head of food safety and operations at the FSA in Northern Ireland, said recent E.coli outbreaks in Britain and on the Continent had been associated with handling fresh produce but consumer awareness of the potential risk of contamination from raw veg was low.