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Stay food smart around BBQs this summer

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With the less than perfect weather lately, thoughts of delicious BBQ meals on the deck have probably been delayed.

​However, when the sun does decide to stay out, and you do fire it up, take the time to consider food safety so your guests don’t get sick and turn down your next invitation.

Warm summer temperatures and cooking large amounts of food outdoors provide the ideal situation for bugs to multiply in food and cause foodborne illness. That means you need to take special care when preparing, cooking and storing food for a barbecue.

MDHB’s Medical Officer of Health Dr Rob Weir said: “Often when we are speaking to people reporting foodborne illness they mention recently attending a barbecue. This is frequently the likely source of illness. To avoid disease we are asking people to follow the Clean, Cook, Chill message.”

It is important to:
o clean your BBQ and utensils with soap and water before cooking
o wash and dry your hands before you prepare food and every time after you touch raw meat or poultry
o make sure all barbecue tools and all surfaces on which you put food are clean before you start handling food
o precook chicken, meat patties and sausages before barbecuing
o marinate meats in a covered container in the fridge and cook the marinade before pouring it over cooked foods
o have clean plates and cooking utensils ready for use once the food is cooked
o remove cooked food from the hotplate using clean utensils before adding any more raw meat
o turn the food regularly so that it cooks evenly
o cook minced meat, meatloaf and sausages until steaming hot right through (temperature over 75 degrees Celsius), and pork and poultry juices should run clear
o pack your chilled and frozen purchases in a chilly bin if the supermarket is more than 30 minutes from your home
o keep meat, poultry and other perishable foods cold until you are ready to cook them
o separate raw meat and poultry from cooked and ready to eat foods i.e. salads in the refrigerator
o keep your food covered to prevent contamination from insects, birds and pets
o cover and refrigerate any leftovers as soon as possible after cooking
o throw out perishable food that you have left at room temperature for more than two hours

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