Food Safety Brief – Research

The brief that I have selected to work on is the Food Safety brief, which is to create a series of short videos on food well-being for chemotherapy patients, to be targeted at caregivers.

I have started by reading the brief several times over in order to really understand it, and as well as this, I have also done some background research into the food safety issues of chemotherapy myself so that I know what I am talking about when it comes to working on the project and talking to the clients.

Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy (also radiation therapy and stem/bone marrow transplantation), often weaken the immune system, leaving patients more at risk to illnesses, particularly those that are food-related. It is important for patients to know and understand how to safely handle, prepare and store food, and also for them to know which foods that they should avoid. There are a lot more foods that chemotherapy patients should avoid than I had originally thought – just a few of them include: unwashed fruit and vegetables; raw or undercooked meat; deli lunch meats; refrigerated pâté; smoked fish; sushi; unpasteurised beverages (e.g. fruit juices, milk, yogurt and cider); soft cheeses; undercooked eggs; and a range of other examples. Although some of these examples of foods to avoid seem pretty obvious, such as the raw meat or undercooked egg – sometimes it can be trickier to avoid. For example, raw egg can be less obvious when added to other things, such as homemade cookie dough or cake mixture, or homemade mayonnaise. On existing food safety websites, such as on cancer.net, patients are encouraged to undertake some simple steps, including: shopping smartly; preparing and cleaning up foods carefully; preventing cross-contamination; disposing of old food; and taking precautions when eating out. It can be hard to spot when a patient is actually suffering from a food-borne illness as some of the symptoms are vague and not always obvious that food is the cause. Symptoms include: diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, muscle pains. These symptoms can escalate quickly into something more serious for cancer patients than for a person who was not a patient.

I also looked into who the Velindre Cancer Centre was and what they do, because this is who our clients have asked us to create the videos for. Velindre Cancer Centre provides specialist cancer services to over 1.5 million people in South East Wales and beyond. They are one of the largest cancer centres in the UK. Each year over 5,000 new referrals and around 50,000 new outpatient appointments are seen by us. They employ over 670 staff with an annual budget of over £49 million.

Another area that I looked into was ZERO2FIVE, as the brief informed us that this would be who was supplying us with the information for our campaign videos. I discovered that ZERO2FIVE are actually a team of food and drink technologists based at Cardiff Met. On the website, they claim that their mission is: “To support Welsh-based food businesses in both a technical and operational capacity, enabling them to compete more effectively in the global market place by providing the knowledge, facilities and resources to help companies push their boundaries, achieve their goals and drive their businesses forward.” We assume that our clients will be part of this team.

 

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Published by

Amber Lloyd

Graphic Communicator

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