One of the great things about the warmer months is the opportunity it brings to catch up with friends and family over an outdoor BBQ. While planning what food to prepare is an important part of these events, so is planning to keep it safe. The warmer weather along with the challenges of catering for large groups can increase our risk of food poisoning.
Food poisoning is a serious health concern in Australia with nearly 32,000 people hospitalised last year and one million making a visit their doctor because of food poisoning1. In New Zealand, the story isn’t much better with 200,000 Kiwis getting food poisoning with around half of the cases coming from the home.
Make sure you send your guests home with only positive memories by following these 8 tips at your next BBQ:
- Don’t cross-contaminate fresh or cooked food with raw meat or poultry. Keep fresh food and raw meats in different bags or containers and use different chopping boards and utensils.
- Keep food in the fridge until you’re ready to eat or cook and put food back in the fridge as soon as you’re finished. Food shouldn’t be out of the fridge for longer than 2 hours.
- Avoid raw egg dishes, such as raw egg mayonnaise or some desserts such as chocolate mousse made with raw egg. Use premade mayonnaise and desserts made from pasteurised eggs.
- Don’t buy too much food so you won’t have to overstock your fridge. If cool air can’t easily move around your food, then your fridge won’t be able to keep it cool enough to keep it safe.
- Keep drinks in an esky, chilly bin or bucket of ice. This will leave more room in your fridge and stop guests from opening your fridge and letting in hot air too often.
- With dips that need to be chilled, use small bowls and top them up rather than leaving them in the heat for hours.
- Wash your hands in warm soapy water before preparing food and after you touch raw meat and poultry, eggs or other items outside of the kitchen.
- Buy a thermometer and cook meats and reheat pre-prepared dishes to an internal temperature of 75
Follow these advised safety tips and you will have an amazing time without any hiccups.
- 1 Food Safety Information Council, 2019