Enjoy your Bank Holiday barbecue safely

SSDCIf you’re aiming to round off a sensational summer with a barbecue in the garden or park, South Somerset District 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 the 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.

“There is nothing more embarrassing than serving up part-cooked burgers or giving your mother-in-law a dose of food poisoning. 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,” said Cllr Peter Seib, who holds the Council’s Environmental Health portfolio.

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

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.

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: food.gov.uk/lovebbq
For more on food safety, visit the Council’s website: www.southsomerset.gov.uk/food