Barbecue safely

Cooking on a barbecue

Barbecues are very popular during the summer, but unfortunately, can often cause food poisoning. It is often someone other than mum doing the cooking, who may not appreciate the importance of thoroughly cooking meat products.

In such situations there is an increased risk of causing food poisoning.

If you are planning to enjoy a barbecue this summer our Environmental Health service have put together some useful tips on staying safe.

Buying the food

  • Choose foods that are well within their use-by dates.
  • Put raw meat in plastic bags.
  • Put chilled foods in cool bags/boxes.
  • Don't buy too much.
  • Take food home straight away.

Storing the food

  • Refrigerate chilled foods immediately.
  • Put raw meats below ready to eat foods.
  • Keep your fridge at or below 5°C.
  • Cover all foods

Setting up the barbecue

  • Position it outside, away from fences, trees and neighbour's property.
  • Ensure the site is level.
  • Light well in advance.
  • Wait until the charcoal is glowing red, with a powdery grey surface, before you start to cook.
  • Use approved lighting fuel, not petrol.
  • Keep children and pets away.
  • Provide fire fighting equipment. For example, garden hose or a bucket of sand.

Preparing the food

  • Wash your hands before you start and in between handling raw and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Prepare foods as late as possible and keep foods in the fridge until required. It should not be put out on display for more than 4 hours and even less in very warm weather.
  • Make sure frozen food is properly thawed before you cook it.
  • Use separate utensils for raw and ready-to-eat foods or wash them in between.
  • Marinate foods in the fridge. Don't put raw meat into a marinade if it is to be used for a sauce, rather reserve a portion specifically for the sauce.
  • Wash salads and vegetables well.

Cooking the food

  • Wash your hands.
  • Cook immediately before eating.
  • Turn the food regularly to cook it evenly.
  • Check that the centre of the food is piping hot and there are no red bits and any juices run clear.
  • Don't assume that if meat is charred on the outside that it will be cooked properly on the inside.
  • Don't handle raw and cooked foods with the same utensils.
  • Never put cooked food on a surface that has been used for raw meat.
  • Never put raw meat products next to cooked or partially cooked meat on the barbecue.

Serving the food

  • Wash your hands
  • Eat food as soon as it is cooked
  • Do not leave food in the sunshine

Clearing up

  • Cover and refrigerate leftovers within 1 hour or throw away.
  • Dispose of refuse in covered bins to deter pests.
  • Check coals are cold before storage.
  • Never put hot ashes into the dustbin.
  • Store briquettes in a dry place.

Happy Barbecuing!

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