FSA brings barbecue hygiene into focus

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published a statement urging consumers to “uphold hygiene standards” when barbecuing during the remaining days of summer.

It highlighted a recent survey, which found bad hygiene practices when barbecuing, including: nearly one in five people (19%) do not keep raw and cooked food on separate plates when cooking at a barbecue; 21% do not wash their hands with soap after handling raw meat; and nearly half (47%) don’t keep food chilled until just before use.

The FSA also reported the survey found just over half (51%) risk cross-contaminating food by using the same tongs for raw and cooked meats and a huge 94% break at least one cardinal rule of food safety. On top of this “not checking” meat was cooked thoroughly before serving was also common.

Catherine Brown, chief executive of the FSA, commented: “Food poisoning is a real risk at barbecues, so we are reminding people to take good care of their families and friends by paying attention to simple food safety rules.”

The FSA has therefore issued “tips” for barbecuing, which included: avoiding cross-contamination through storing raw meat separately before cooking, and use different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked food; pre-cooking meat and poultry before barbecuing for flavour; and checking meat is cooked through before serving. The FSA also warned abut using disposable barbecues, which take longer to reach cooking temperature. Meanwhile the FSA reminded consumers not to wash chicken before cooking, reinforcing its ‘Don’t Wash Your Chicken’ campaign.

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