Wednesday, 30th May 2012
With barbecue season upon us, safefood reminds consumers to practise good food safety habits
With the weather getting hotter and thoughts turning to barbecues, safefood, the body responsible for promoting food safety and healthy eating is reminding consumers to be mindful when cooking meat on the barbecue. Minced, skewered or rolled meats such as burgers, sausages and kebabs should be thoroughly cooked and never served "rare" or pink in the middle, no matter what time of year.
Dr Gary Kearney, Director, Food Science, safefood says "This weekend might be the first time this year that people will cook on a barbecue so it's important not to let your good food safety habits go up in smoke. Fresh ingredients and good food are part of a healthy lifestyle and everyone loves the flavour of barbecued food but we need to make sure that meat is fully cooked. To check that a burger or sausage is cooked thoroughly, cut into the middle with a clean knife and check that it is piping hot all the way through, there is no pink meat left and the juices run clear".
With whole cuts of meat e.g. steak, any harmful bacteria will live on the outside only and these cuts can be cooked to preference e.g. "rare". But when meat is minced or chopped up, any bacteria on the outside are moved around into the middle of the meat. These meats must be cooked thoroughly until piping hot all the way through to kill any bacteria that could cause food poisoning.
safefood's golden rules for a safe barbecue are:
- Make sure that your burgers, sausages, kebabs, pork and poultry are properly cooked they should be piping hot the whole way through, with no pink meat remaining and the juices should run clear
- If you choose to barbecue any frozen food, it must be completely thawed on the bottom shelf of your fridge before you cook it.
- When cooking your meat, turn it frequently to ensure it is cooked evenly
- Marinade used on raw meat should not be used to coat vegetables or cooked meat
- Use separate cooking utensils and plates for raw and cooked meat and always keep ready-to-eat foods and cooked meat completely separate from raw meat harmful bacteria in raw meat, poultry and meat juices can contaminate cooked food and lead to food poisoning
- Keep all your perishable food in the fridge for as long as possible germs can multiply rapidly as food reaches higher than normal storage temperature
- Allow your leftovers to cool before refrigerating but try to get cooked food into the fridge after cooking ideally within two hours
- Finally, always wash your hands before and after handling any food, particularly raw meat or poultry
For more information on food safety and healthy eating including great barbecue recipes, visit http://www.safefood.eu
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