Who is up for a barbecue this summer?

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With the Bank Holiday weekend just round the corner, East Cambridgeshire District Council is teaming up with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to serve up some advice to help make a summer barbecue a sizzling and safe success.

With the whiff or even mention of a barbecue enough to get even the most reluctant cooks out into the garden or patio – it is important that those donning the apron and handling the cooking tongs know what to do.

Cases of food poisoning almost double during the summer and research shows undercooking of raw meat and the contamination of bacteria onto the food we eat are among the main reasons.

The top tips to avoid food poisoning 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.

Liz Knox, Head of Environmental Services at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “We all want to protect the health of our family and friends, so the Food Standards Agency simple advice shows how we can prepare food safely in advance and cut the risk of spreading those barbecue bugs. Our message is you can be safety-conscious and cook sensation food all at the same time.

“The advice is important because research shows 24 per cent of people who aren’t the main cook in their kitchen take charge at the barbecue. So they make mistakes which can lead to food poisoning. For example, the research also tells us, 21 per cent do not wash their hands with soapy water after handling meat, 28 per cent don’t check that burgers and sausages are cooked all the way through before serving and more worrying 51 per cent use the same tongs for raw and cooked meat. If you avoid these simple errors then you can be sure to sign off your summer with a great barbecue.”

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

For more information on the food hygiene in East Cambridgeshire please visit www.eastcambs.gov.uk/waste/ or call 01353 665555.

Press Release from East Cambridgeshire District Council