MYTH: Barbecues are likely to cause food poisoning REALITY: They can make you ill, but poisoning your guests is easily avoided
“Badly cooked meat is a breeding ground for bugs and salmonella, the bacteria that cause food poisoning,” says Alison. “Taking meat out of the refrigerator early and leaving it in the sun poses another salmonella risk. Family pets such as cats and dogs, who wander round and sniff food, may carry worms that can be passed on to humans. People tend to use their fingers more at barbecues, and if they haven’t washed their hands this could cause infections among guests.”
What to do
1 Clean the barbecue thoroughly after every use.
2 Don’t take salads and pre-cooked vegetable dishes out of the refrigerator until all the meat is ready; they attract germs if left in the open for too long.
3 Once the meat is cooked, place it into a warm oven to keep it hot, and keep away bacteria. If you’re not near an oven, have a deep roasting pan with a tight-fitting lid to put the meat in, and keep it as near the barbecue as possible, to keep the meat piping hot.
4 Try to ensure all the meat is ready at the same time. Put items such as chicken that need more cooking in the middle of the grill. Thinner meats that need less heat can line the slightly cooler edges of the grill, so everything cooks at the same time.
5 Don’t have the grill too close to the coals as this will burn meat on the outside and leave it raw on the inside.