Despite the drizzle and the midgies, many of us will find ourselves swathed in a novelty apron with tongs in hand, happily cooking burgers or sausages on the barbecue or packing the cool bag for a picnic on the beach.
Unfortunately the barbecue and picnic season is also when the number of food poisoning cases sees an increase.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) is encouraging people to follow a few simple tips to ensure their outdoor eating doesn’t result in anyone getting food poisoning and everyone enjoying ‘al fresco’ dining has a good time.
Dr Syed Ahmed, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, says barbecues and picnics should be fun for everyone but often, by not following a few simple safety precautions, people end up getting ill with food poisoning after the event.
He added: “Barbecues and picnics are great in the summer but what we want to reiterate is that a few safety precautions will ensure everyone stays healthy and happy.
“Barbecues, in particular, can result in people undercooking food, raw meat and ready to eat foodstuffs not being kept separate, food not being thoroughly defrosted and cooking utensils being used for raw and cooked foods.
“If people follow our tips they can enjoy their barbecues and picnics without worrying about sickness and diarrhoea a few days later.”
Tips for Barbecues
• Light the barbecue will in advance ensuring it glows red before using
• Always keep raw meat and ready-to-eat food separate
• Defrost frozen meats thoroughly in the fridge for 24 hours before cooking
• Always wash hands thoroughly before preparing food, touching raw meat and before eating
• Do not use the same utensils for raw and cooked foods
• Do not place cooked foods on plates that have held raw meats
• Keep food covered to prevent insects and pets getting to it
• Do not use left over marinade of raw meats as a sauce
• If cooking for a large number of people, consider pre-cooking poultry and other meats in an oven beforehand before finishing off on the barbecue
• Cook poultry, burgers, sausages and other meats until there are no pink bits in the middle and the juices run clear
• Do not assume the meat is cooked all the way through just because the outside surface looks well charred
• Keep cooked meats away from partially cooked or raw meats on the grill
• Avoid drinking excess alcohol as this can impair awareness of good food hygiene measures.
Tips for Picnics
• Use a cool bag with ice packs to keep food cool during the journey
• Keep the cool bag in the coolest part of the car away from direct sunlight
• On arrival at destination keep the lid of the cool box on and away from direct sunlight
• Leave food in the fridge until the last moment
• Wash hands or use antiseptic wipes before eating
• Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly before eating
• In visits to farms or zoo parks, do not eat food in areas allocated to animal contact or petting animals
• Always wash hands or use antiseptic wipes immediately after contact with animals
• Use only safe drinking water for washing food and dishes.
For further information contact 0141 201 4429.