BBQ food safety guidance
The opportunity to dust off the BBQ and dine outside is one of the great perks of British summertime, but with all the rushing around to get our food grilled before the sun goes down, we are left with the increased risk of food poisoning. In fact, cases of food poisoning are said to double during the summer season but luckily, it is something that is easily avoidable by adhering to a few simple guidelines to be BBQ food safe!
The most common causes of food poisoning are the bacteria found in raw meats, so it is essential that this does not come into contact with ready cooked or prepared food. To avoid this happening, you should ensure that you are storing meats separately, and washing your hands and surfaces regularly when you are handling the meat. This is the first step to ensure that none of the harmful bacteria in raw meat is transferred.
It is also common when barbecuing to find that food that looks to be cooked on the outside is in fact still raw or undercooked on the inside. You should always ensure that meat is cooked thoroughly by cutting into each piece of meat and checking that it’s not pink, the juices are clear and it is piping hot right through. If you use a gas BBQ, you can control the temperature much more easily which will help to ensure you get it right, and lots of people also like to use meat thermometers for extra peace of mind.
At Calor we recommend the following steps to ensure the ultimate food safety at your next BBQ:
- Always keep your food refrigerated prior to being cooked, ensuring that raw meat has been stored separately.
- Always make sure that your BBQ is at the correct temperature before you begin cooking, this may require some patience with charcoal models, but is a necessity to avoid food poisoning.
- During the BBQ process keep the tools and utensils used with raw meat separate from those used to serve cooked meat.
- Regularly wash your hands and surfaces throughout the BBQ process, paying particular attention following the handling of raw meat.
- Make sure that food is not kept in direct sunlight as the warm temperatures provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
- Ensure that cooked food is eaten immediately or shortly after it comes off the grill, as leaving it for a prolonged period of time will alter the temperatures and provide bacteria with an opportunity to breed.
- Follow the recommended cooking times for meat dishes, and always check that food is cooked throughout before being served, either by using a meat thermometer or by piercing the meat to check the colour, heat and juices.
- Don’t forget your non-meat dishes! Thoroughly wash all vegetables and salads before preparing and serving.
By taking the time to follow this guidance and maintaining a serious awareness of food safety, you will ensure that every BBQ you have is memorable for the right reasons and your family can enjoy a fun, food poisoning free summer!