Have a sizzling, safe barbecue

14 August 2014

Written by: Campaigns team

Health and Wellbeing

If you’re planning to round off a sensational summer with a barbecue this bank holiday, we’re serving up some advice to help make it a sizzling success.

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Have a sizzling, safe barbecue

If you want your barbecue to be remembered for the right reasons, follow this simple advice to beat barbecue bugs:

  • Pre-cooking the meat or poultry in the oven first and then finish it off on the barbecue for flavour.
  • Charred doesn’t mean cooked make sure that burgers, sausages, chicken and all meats are properly cooked by cutting into the meat and checking that it is steaming hot all the way through, that none of it is pink and that any juices run clear.
  • Disposable barbecues take longer always check that your meat is cooked right through.
  • Avoid cross-contamination by storing raw meat separately before cooking, use different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked food.
  • Don’t wash raw chicken or other meat, it just splashes germs.

Why it’s important:

You may have heard of salmonella and E.coli, which are well known causes of food poisoning, but you may not be aware that nearly 60% of chicken sold in the UK contains a bug called campylobacter.

Campylobacter poisoning can lead to sickness, diarrhoea, disability and even worse.

Those most at risk are children and older people.

Research carried out for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) shows:


  • 56% of men say they are the ‘main cook’ at a barbecue, compared to 21.4%
    of women.
  • 24% of people who aren’t the main cook in their kitchen are the main cook at
    the barbecue.
  • 19% of people do not keep raw and cooked foods on separate plates.
  • 21% do not wash their hands with soapy water after handling meat.
    • 28% don’t check that burgers and sausages are cooked all the way through
      before serving.
    • 32% don’t check that chicken is cooked through.
    • 51% use the same tongs for raw and cooked meat.

Research also shows cases of food poisoning almost doubles in the summer, and the undercooking of raw meat and the contamination of bacteria onto the food we eat are among the main reasons people get sick.

For more information see www.food.gov.uk/lovebbq

For advice on handling poultry safely see www.food.gov.uk/chicken