Date Published: 5 June 2009
safefood reminds consumers of the steps to safe barbecues
safefood is reminding consumers to follow good food safety practice when cooking food on barbecues over the summer months as new research reveals that one in five people do not know how to check if their burgers, sausages or chicken are cooked properly on a barbecue. Undercooking these foods on a barbecue can potentially expose the consumer to the perils of food poisoning.
Dr. Gary Kearney, Director Food Science safefood explained:
“With the summer months upon us, more of us are thinking about cooking on barbecues. And while we can’t ensure good weather all the time, we can take measures to guarantee good food safety when having a barbecue. It is important that meat which has been minced or skewered, such as burgers, sausages and kebabs, is cooked thoroughly and never served rare or pink in the middle. When meat is chopped or minced, any bacteria present on the outside are moved around and into the centre of the food. These meats must be cooked thoroughly until piping hot all the way through, the juices run clear and until there is no pink meat left. All poultry and pork must also be cooked thoroughly all the way through”.
There are three ways to check that meat is cooked thoroughly:
- Check the juices run clear when you pierce the thickest part of the meat with a fork or skewer
- Meat changes colour when it is cooked; make sure that there is no pink meat left
- Cut the meat open with a clean knife to check that it is piping hot all the way through; it should be steaming
It is important when planning a barbecue think food safety and try to plan ahead. Some tips from safefood for this summer are:
Cooking on the barbecue
- Light the barbecue well in advance. Make sure it’s very hot and that the flames have died down before you start to cook
- As with any food preparation, make sure to wash your hands before and after handling food
- Be sure that frozen food is fully thawed, preferably in the fridge, before you cook it
- Keep raw meats and poultry cool in the fridge or iced cool-box until needed. Keep raw meats separated from cooked meats and ready-to-eat foods
- Use separate utensils for raw and cooked meat
- Never put cooked food on a dish that has been used for raw meat (unless it has been washed thoroughly). Keep raw meats and poultry cool in the fridge or iced cool-box until needed
- Turn food regularly and move it around the barbecue to ensure it is evenly cooked
- Just because the meat turns crisp and brown on the outside, don’t assume it’s properly cooked inside.
- Don’t put raw meat next to cooked or partially cooked meat on the barbecue
- Make sure any marinade used on raw meat is not used to coat vegetables or cooked meat
- Remember if you are barbecuing for lots of people, you could cook food indoors and just finish it off on the barbecue.
Source(s): safeFood (Ireland)