Barbecue tips

Safe summer eating

During the good weather, many people enjoy having a barbecue – the smell of hot charcoal…sizzling food…long cool drinks…and also the possibility of food poisoning.  The popularity of barbecues is rising, with pubs and other eateries offering barbecued food and people barbecuing in parks and on beaches.

Unfortunately every year people get ill from barbecue food that has not been cooked properly, resulting in vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach ache and fever. Bugs such as E coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter can cause serious illness, but you can steer clear of food poisoning by taking some simple steps.

Whatever you’re cooking up this summer, keep food safe for friends, family and customers with these tips from the Food Safety Team at Brighton & Hove City Council:

Tips from the food safety experts

  • wait until the charcoal is glowing red, with a powdery grey surface, before you start to cook.
  • make sure frozen food is properly thawed before you cook it.
  • turn the food regularly, and move it around the barbecue, to cook  it evenly
  • check that the centre of the food is piping hot.
  • even if meat is charred on the outside it might not be cooked properly – always check it is cooked in the middle.
  • check that there aren’t any pink bits left in poultry, pork, burgers, sausages and kebabs, and that any juices run clear.

Keep raw meat away from other food

  • always wash your hands thoroughly between handling raw and cooked foods, after using the toilet and after handling rubbish or waste
  • keep raw meat in a sealed container away from ready-to-eat foods, such as burger buns and salads
  • never put cooked food on a plate or surface that has been used for raw meat
  • use separate utensils for raw and cooked meat
  • don't put raw meat products next to cooked or partially cooked meat on the barbecue
  • don't add sauce or marinade to cooked food if it has already been used with raw meat
  • use disposable cloths to clear up spillages or to wipe down surfaces.
  • refrigerate any left-overs as soon as possible
  • if reheating food, do it thoroughly to a high temperature for at least ten minutes
  • don’t reheat food more than once – throw it away

There were over 70,000 reported cases of food poisoning in 2004, but many more go unreported.  It is estimated that as many as 5.5 million people in the UK may suffer from foodborne illnesses each year – that's one in ten people.  Cases of suspected food poisoning usually peak during the summer months, when people are eating out more and having barbecues, parties and picnics.

By following these guidelines, the risk of getting food poisoning from your barbecue will be minimised.

Be safe and have fun!

For more advice, please contact the Food Safety Team on (01273) 292161

Get information about where and when you can barbecue on the seafront in Brighton & Hove.