Every year barbecues are responsible for thousands of cases of food poisoning and sometimes death amongst the more susceptible groups.
Barbecues are great. The foodstuff tastes good, it’s a social event and it gives a person who doesn’t usually cook (usually the husband/boyfriend/male partner) time to shine with their culinary skills. However, there are two major reasons why barbecues cause poisoning.
- Cross contamination of ready to eat ingredients (such as bread rolls for burgers/sausages/steaks) from raw meat juices which contain pathogenic bacteria. The cook handles the raw meat products, do not wash their hands and transfers the deadly bacteria to the bread rolls, ready for eating and illness.
- Heating food to a temperature that will allow survival of pathogens. Foodstuff must be heated to a temperature that will kill the bacteria and render it safe to eat.
Here are ten things you can do to prevent a bout of foodborne disease which will result in illness and possibly death, including some quality tips:
- Keep raw ingredients totally separate from ready to eat foods.
- Wash your hands well in soapy water after touching raw meat and raw vegetables. (Soil on raw vegetables is a major source of pathogenic organisms.
- Check the internal temperature of cooked foods to ensure it has reached at least 75°C or 167°F. This temperature will ensure that it is safe to eat.
- Do not touch pets during the preparation of ingredients as they harbour many illness causing organisms.
- Wash salad ingredients well in cold running water. Salad leaves are a major source of germs.
- Keep turning the meat over whilst it is cooking to ensure it doesn’t become burnt on either side.
- If using a charcoal barbecue, ensure the coals are covered in a light grey ash before cooking. If you use a lighting fluid or firelighters to ignite the coals, wait for the flames to die down or your meal will taste of kerosene.
- For better tasting rolls, grill the cut sides on the barbecue.
- When the meal is cooked, keep it hot or serve it straight away.
- You can use electric, gas or charcoal barbecues, the coal ones, however, give a better outdoor flavour to the food.
So barbecuing is a great way to meet new and old friends and family. Even cooking over burning wood in a forest is something that adds greatly to your camping experience, but always make sure you prepare, cook and serve your food safely. One of the most useful devices you can use during outdoor cooking is a Digital Thermometer. It is not expensive, but it can prevent serious illness and possibly death.
For more information go to Digital Thermometer.