Have a sizzling and safe barbecue

18 August 2014

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If you're aiming to round off a sensational summer with a barbecue in the garden or park, Woking Borough Council and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have served up some advice to help make it a sizzling and safe success.

With the last long weekend of the summer coming up, even those of us who have been glued to the World Cup and Commonwealth Games are likely to throw down the TV remote in favour of throwing some food on the barbecue.

It means that many of us in command of the barbecue will not be those who are normally in charge in the kitchen.

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.

We all want to protect the health of our family and friends, and the FSA's simple advice shows how we can prepare food safely in advance and cut the risk of spreading those barbecue bugs.

Cllr Beryl Hunwicks, Portfolio Holder for Food and Health and Safety, said: "BBQs are a great way to spend time with family and friends. By taking these simple, common-sense precautions, you can help keep yourself and those around you safe from harm."

The FSA message is you can be safety-conscious and sensational all at the same time. 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 so 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.

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.

If you want your barbecue to be remembered for the right reasons, follow the FSA's advice on beating the barbecue bugs.

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