Summer will be upon us before we know it, and with it comes the prospect of family fun and social gatherings around the barbecue; there’s something very special about long lazy summer days and the smoky flavour of barbecued meat eaten in the company of friends.
Whilst barbeque parties are great social occasions, don’t ruin them by giving your guests food poisoning! In the UK, cases of food poisoning rise significantly over the summer months; many of which can be directly attributed to poor food safety practices on the BBQ.
Far too many happy gatherings are spoilt by the unpleasant consequences of food that has been stored at the wrong temperature, handled by people with unwashed hands, and not cooked sufficiently long enough, at a high enough temperate, to eliminate potentially hazardous bacteria. Often the person responsible for cooking at a BBQ has never received any training in food safety; therefore the potential for a serious food poisoning incident to occur is very high.
We recommend you strictly observe the following 7 points if you want to keep your guests safe and happy and yourself stress-free, when you host your next BBQ.
1.Plan ahead – make sure the BBQ, which has probably not been used for several months, is given a through clean and safety check. Light the BBQ well in advance of the time you will begin cooking. Charcoal should be glowing hot – it can take about an hour from the time of lighting the fire to reach ideal cooking temperature.
2.Don’t wash raw meat – all this does is splash bacteria around the sink, taps and work surfaces that need to be kept completely free from contamination.
3.Store raw meat covered, in appropriate containers at the bottom of the fridge until needed for cooking.
4.Pre-cook the meat in your kitchen oven before finishing off on the BBQ.
5.Food waiting to be cooked should be stored in a cool box with a lid to prevent contamination by insects or pets.
6.Keep cooked and raw foods separate, and always use separate tongs and utensils to prevent cross contamination.
7.Wash hands thoroughly between tasks, but especially after handling raw meat. Keep your food preparation area scrupulously clean and free from discarded food at all times. Keep children well away from the BBQ, as well as those adults not involved with the cooking.