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With forecasters promising a sunny weekend, Brighton & Hove City Council's food safety team is giving barbecue tips to keep food poisoning off the menu.
The advice comes at the start of national Food Safety Week, which runs from June 7 to 13.
Every year around 300 people in Brighton & Hove are made ill by food poisoning bacteria, and the number of cases is highest when the weather gets warmer, with more people are barbecuing and eating outside.
Food safety staff will be out and about during Food Safety Week giving practical tips on simple food hygiene measures to prevent problems. This will include:
- Displays at Hove Town Hall and the council offices at Bartholomew House, Bartholomew Square, Brighton, with leaflets and recipe cards
- A ‘Beat the Bugs’ bingo session and talk on food safety for an over 60s group at St John’s Centre in Hove on Monday
- Talks at parent and toddler groups in Portslade on Tuesday and Thursday
- An advice session for members of Montague House Day Centre on Tuesday, using a ‘Big Bug Box’ - an ultra-violet light box which shows if hands are washed properly
The advice from the food safety team is that a few simple, common sense measures to ensure food is stored, handled and cooked properly will minimise any risk of food poisoning.
Make sure barbecued food is cooked properly:
• Wait until the charcoal is glowing red, with a powdery grey surface, before you start to cook
• Make sure frozen food is properly thawed before you cook it
• Turn the food regularly, and move it around the barbecue, to cook it evenly
• Check that the centre of the food is piping hot
• Charred doesn’t mean well done, even if meat is burnt on the outside, it might not be cooked properly on the inside. Cook food evenly over a steady heat and always check that it’s cooked in the middle.
Keep raw meat away from other food:
• Stop raw meat from touching or dripping onto other food, to prevent bacteria spreading between food
• Wash hands thoroughly after handling raw meat
• Use separate utensils for raw and cooked meat
• Never put cooked food on a plate or surface that has been used for raw meat (unless it has been washed thoroughly)
• Don’t add sauce or marinade to cooked food if it has already been used with raw meat
Keep food chilled
• Food that needs to be chilled should be kept in the fridge, and check that it’s running at the right temperature - between 0°C and 5°C. Storage above this range can allow bacteria to grow.
• For picnics, don't take food out of the fridge until the last minute and use a cool bag to keep it chilled until ready to eat.
For more advice on food safety go to www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/foodsafety, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01273 292161.