FOOD: How not to poison your friends and family this summer

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Summer’s yet to officially begin in the UK, but a little bird has told us that the sun is just about to make a special appearance, and when it does millions of sun starved Britons will be wheeling out their dusty barbecues and rolling up their sleeves in preparation for a slap up barbecue.

If you’re aiming to begin your sensational summer with a barbecue in the garden or park, the FSA (Food Standards Agency) have served up some advice to help make it a sizzling and safe success. It’s the little things that you do that will help keep your loved ones and friends stay safe.

You may be one of those 45% of people who worry about giving their friends and family food poisoning; which is not surprising since cases of these dangerous bugs almost double over the summer. Worry no more because here are the FSA’s top tips to help your barbecue go without a hitch.

  1. Pre-cook all chicken in the oven before flashing it on the barbecue for that special flame grilled taste (can also be used for sausages, burgers and kebabs if you’re cooking for large numbers)
  2. Charred doesn’t mean cooked, turning meat regularly and moving it around the barbecue will help to cook it evenly ensuring the meat is steaming hot with no pink inside. It’s always safer to cut open and check your food is cooked- if in doubt keep cooking
  3. Disposable BBQs take longer to heat up and cook food. Always check that your meat is cooked right through before serving
  4. Avoid cross-contamination by storing raw meat separately before cooking, use different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked food. Always wash your hands thoroughly before handling your food for the barbecue and after handling raw foods
  5. Don’t wash raw meat; it just splashes germs which can spread dangerous bugs on to your hands, clothes, utensils and worktops. There’s no need to wash the meat cooking will kill any bacteria present
  6. Keep plates and cutlery away from raw meat and fish, never serve your guests cooked food on a plate that’s had raw meat or fish on it. There’s no point in serving up food with a flourish if you’re adding bugs back into the mix.

Follow this advice for a sensationally successful and safe barbecue this summer. For more information on the FSA visit: food.gov.uk 

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