Barbecues are an excellent way to relax and enjoy yourself in the summer, but they can turn into a nightmare if you get food poisoning. To make sure you keep food safe for your friends and family, take a look at our helpful tips below:
Take care when cooking
- Make sure frozen food is thawed properly before you start to cook it.
- The biggest risk of food poisoning when barbecuing is from raw and undercooked meat, so make sure that the meat is cooked properly. Even if it is charred on the outside, it may not be completely cooked in the middle. All meat should be cooked so that it is piping hot the whole way through, with no pink meat left and that any juices run clear.
- Thick burgers and chicken on the bone, like drumsticks can be difficult to cook thoroughly on a barbecue. Cook them in the oven first and transfer them to the barbecue for browning or crisping.
- Turn food regularly and move it around the barbecue to ensure food is cooked evenly.
- If you are barbecuing for a large group, it may be safer to cook all your food indoors first and then finish it off on the barbecue for added flavour.
- If you are re-heating food on the barbecue, always make sure it's piping hot all the way through before serving.
- Don't add sauce or marinade to cooked food if it has already been used with raw meat.
Prevent cross contamination
- Raw meat can contain food poisoning bugs. Contamination can occur if raw meat touches or drips onto food that is ready to eat or that is already cooked. To prevent this, make sure raw, cooked and partially cooked meat is kept separate on the barbecue.
- Use separate tongs for raw and cooked meat.
- Keep raw meat in a separate container, away from ready-to-eat foods, such as salads, sandwiches and desserts.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly before preparing food, after handling raw meat and before eating.
- Never put cooked food on a plate or surface that has been used for raw meat.
- Keep chilled food cool. Don't take it out of the fridge until it's needed and use a cool bag to keep it chilled until you're ready to eat.
- Keep food covered to protect it from insects, birds and pets!
- If you have leftovers, don't leave them standing around at room temperature, either throw them away or put them in the fridge.