Barbecue warning: Cook food in oven first, says Food Standards Agency

Barbecue Image copyright AFP/Getty

People are being urged to pre-cook food in the oven before barbecuing it after research found most Britons make risky hygiene mistakes at the grill.

The Food Standards Agency said food poisoning was a real danger of outdoor cooking, with 94% of people admitting to at least one bad barbecue habit.

In a survey of 2,030 adults, 21% said they believed they had been ill due to something they ate.

And nearly a third admitted to not checking if food was properly cooked.

The FSA warned that food hygiene risks could lead to illnesses like campylobacter, which affects more than a quarter of a million people every year.

Ahead of the late summer bank holiday weekend - a popular time for barbecues - the government body issued tips to help people avoid food poisoning.

Among the FSA's tips was advice to pre-cook food before putting it on the grill.

It warned that "charred doesn't mean cooked", that meat should be steaming hot throughout - not pink - and any juices should run clear.

It also warned that disposable barbecues took longer to cook food, that raw meat should be stored and handled separately, and raw chicken should not be washed as it splashes germs around.

FSA chief executive Catherine Brown said: "Food poisoning is a real risk at barbecues and so we are reminding people to take good care of their families and friends by paying attention to simple food safety rules."

The FSA survey, which polled 2,030 people online in July, also showed that 24% of those who described themselves as the main cook at a barbecue did not usually cook at home.

One in five admitted to not keeping raw and cooked meat on separate plates, and more than half risked cross-contamination by using the same tongs throughout the process.

Campylobacter, which can result from cross-contamination, causes food poisoning in around 280,000 people every year.

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