It’s that time of year again, the opportunity to eat alfresco and get the BBQ out. It seems to be a new tradition of the Great British summertime.

But are we all making each other ill? Cases of food poisoning are said to double during the summer months but luckily, it is something that is easily avoidable by sticking to a few simple guidelines to be BBQ food safe!

  1. Pre-cook

Consider cooking all chicken and pork in the oven prior to giving it a blast on your barbecue. Your guests will still experience that char grilled taste, and you will be safe in the knowledge that you have cooked it all the way through. The pre-cook can be used for sausages, burgers and kebabs.

  1. Charred doesn’t mean cooked

Charred on the outside doesn’t necessarily mean its cooked on the inside. Cut open and check your burgers, sausages and chicken. Turning meat regularly and moving it around on the barbecue will also help to cook it evenly. If in doubt, keep cooking. Remember that most types of meat are safe to eat only when there is no pink meat visible when you cut into the thickest part, don’t eat rare burgers. Burgers served less than fully cooked can remain contaminated with harmful bacteria, such as E. coli. Burgers should not be served rare or pink if being prepared at home, they should always be cooked all the way through until steaming hot.

  1. Don’t overload

BBQ’s come in all shapes and sizes, disposable, coal, gas, don’t overload the barbecue as this will slow down the cooking process

When you’re cooking make sure the coals are glowing red with a powdery grey surface before you start cooking, as this means they’re hot enough. Frozen meat should be properly thawed before you cook it. Make sure you turn the meat regularly and move it around the barbecue to cook it evenly

  1. Avoid cross-contamination

Store raw meat separately before cooking. Use different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked food. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water and dry them before and after handling food. Keep plates and cutlery away from raw meat and fish.

  1. Keep cold foods below 5°C

Don’t leave food that you would store refrigerated standing around in the warm, keep it chilled until ready to eat.