Have a sizzling and safe barbecue

Published Wednesday 13 August 2014 at 15:12

If you’re aiming to round off your summer with a barbecue in the garden or park, Blackburn with Darwen Council and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have served up some advice to help make it a success.

With the last long weekend of the summer coming up, this could be our last chance for an outdoor cooking experience, but there are precautions that could stop your barbecue turning into a food safety disaster.

Cases of food poisoning almost double during the summer, and research shows that the undercooking of raw meat and the contamination of bacteria onto the food we eat are among the main reasons.

The FSA’s simple advice shows how we can prepare food safely in advance and cut the risk of spreading those barbecue bugs.

The top tips include:

  • Pre-cook the meat or poultry in the oven first and then finish it off on the barbecue for flavour.
  • Charred doesn’t mean cooked make sure that burgers, sausages, chicken and all meats are properly cooked by cutting into the meat and checking that it is steaming hot all the way through, that none of it is pink and that any juices run clear.
  • Disposable barbecues take longer always check that your meat is cooked right through.
  • Avoid cross-contamination by storing raw meat separately before cooking, use different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked food.
  • Don’t wash raw chicken or other meat, it just splashes germs.

Why it’s important – you may have heard of salmonella and E.coli, which are well known causes of food poisoning, but you may not be aware that nearly 60% of chicken sold in the UK contains a bug called campylobacter.

Campylobacter poisoning can lead to sickness, diarrhoea, disability and even worse. Those most at risk are children and older people.

Cllr Jim Smith, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Executive Member for Environment said

If we get good weather in the summer many of us will get out the barbecue, which often means sausages, burgers and chicken. However, this is also the time of year when there is a sharp rise in the number of cases of food poisoning, many of which are caused by eating undercooked meat or by cross contamination from raw meat to hands.

Following the simple steps from the FSA can make the difference between a brilliant barbecue and an upset stomach. That’s why our Food Safety team is trying to make sure that, barbecues can be safe, fun and enjoyable for all.”

Find out more about the FSA’s top tips at: www.food.gov.uk/lovebbq

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