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Top tips for a sizzlingly safe barbecue

Published on 25/05/2017

The garden lights are twinkling, the Prosecco’s chilled and a charcoal aroma is filling the air. The spring bank holiday marks the start of National BBQ Week - but also, unfortunately, the start of a summer peak in food poisoning. So we’ve teamed up with food hygiene experts RT Safety Training to create a checklist for the perfect barbecue - just add warm weather and enjoy!

According to RT Safety Training’s communications director Stuart McCarthy-Thompson, preparation is key. “Wash your hands - often,” he says. “Make sure all frozen meat products are fully defrosted overnight before cooking. Ideally, chicken and thicker meat should be fully cooked in the oven first and then finished on the barbecue; this is the safest method and the final few minutes on the barbecue will preserve the authentic flavour. Wash salad thoroughly and keep it cool until serving.

“Place your barbecue in the safest place, away from pets, small children and strong winds and, if using charcoal, light the barbecue in plenty of time, avoiding the use of products such as lighter fluid. Gas barbecues should be properly checked if they’ve been stored over winter.”

When you’re ready to barbecue, Stuart says:

  • Keep raw and cooked foods in separate areas and use separate utensils to minimise the handling of raw foods, which carry bacteria. Simple tricks can help you remember which is which, such as left for raw and right for cooked - it will be ‘right’ to eat!
  • Be careful not to re-use utensils when checking undercooked foods
  • Look for clear juices and lots of steam when checking if meat products are cooked properly. Colour change can be unreliable in most meats, including burgers
  • Keep foods at a suitable height to avoid burning too quickly on the outside
  • Put all cooked foods onto clean plates for serving
  • Keep foods covered when not being eaten, to keep creepy crawlies at bay, and keep lids on jars and pots
  • If it’s a very hot day (fingers crossed!), keep sauces and salads in a cool spot, preferably returning them to the fridge as soon as possible
  • Try to avoid leftovers but, if there are any, cover and cool within 90 minutes of cooking and pop them in the fridge
  • Remember that the barbecue will stay very hot for several hours, so continue to keep children and pets at a safe distance even after cooking
  • Find an empty deckchair, put your feet up and tuck in!

Family business RT Safety Training was established almost 20 years ago as a first aid training company. It has grown to become one of Wales’ leading training providers and now runs more than 40 courses on a wide range of health and safety topics.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2017

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