Don’t let food poisoning dampen your BBQ
Most of us will be dusting off the barbeque this weekend to make the most of the sunshine, so it’s a good time to recap on food hygiene and avoid poisoning your family or friends this weekend!
Remember to keep raw meat away from other foods, including vegetables such as lettuce and tomatoes. You can do this by packing meats separately or by making sure they are wrapped separately, so that juices don’t leak out onto other foods.
Use separate utensils, cutting boards, dishes and other cooking equipment when handling raw and cooked meats. For example, don’t place cooked meat on the same plate used to bring the raw meat to the BBQ. Raw juices can spread bacteria to your safely cooked food and cause illness.
Wash your hands carefully with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat.
Cooking meat on a barbecue
When you’re cooking any kind of meat on a barbecue, such as poultry (chicken or turkey), pork, steak, burgers or sausages, make sure that:
- The coals are glowing red with a powdery grey surface before you start cooking, as this means that they’re hot enough.
- Frozen meat is properly thawed before you cook it.
- You turn the meat regularly and move it around the barbecue to cook it evenly.
And remember that meat is safe to eat only when:
- It is piping hot in the centre.
- There is no pink meat visible.
- Any juices are clear.
Don’t assume that because meat is charred on the outside it will be cooked properly on the inside. Cut the meat at the thickest part and make sure none of it is pink on the inside.
Finally, don’t let the leftovers lie around. The rule of thumb is that food should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour if it is 900 F or more outside.
So wrap up leftovers immediately and give them the big chill in the fridge or freezer for another meal.