Burgers sizzling on the barbecues are a popular way to enjoy the August bank holiday - but make sure they’re cooked properly is the message from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
As part of the Food Standards Agency’s campaign which is being supported by the council to help people avoid food poisoning from poorly barbecued meat residents barbecuing for family and friends - or tucking into a juicy burger or hot dog from a food stall – residents are being reminded that the meat should be cooked through and not left rare in the middle.
Burgers and sausages which are served partially cooked can remain contaminated with harmful bacteria. This is because any bacteria on the surface of the raw meat when minced will be spread throughout and may not be killed if all parts of the burger or sausage aren’t fully cooked. Salmonella and certain types of E. coli can cause serious food poisoning. Symptoms include feeling sick, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, stomach cramps and abdominal pain.
The council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services and the Environment, Cllr Hayley Eachus, said: “Enjoy your barbecued food safely this bank holiday by ensuring that your meat is cooked thoroughly.
“With the exception of steak, it is important to check that you’re not serving any food ‘pink’ inside as this could lead to food poisoning for family and friends. Extra special care should be taken with food preparation for children, the sick and the elderly.
“You can’t see, smell or taste bacteria, but it could be there and it can make people seriously ill. Cook burgers and sausages - and chicken, of course - until they are hot throughout and juices run clear.
“If you buy a burger or hot dog that isn’t cooked thoroughly, return it to the vendor straight away. Don’t worry about making a fuss, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
The Food Standards Agency also advises that you wash your hands after touching raw meat and before you handle cooked food and avoid cross-contamination by storing raw meat separately before cooking, and using different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked food.
If you want your barbecue to be remembered for the right reasons and for some food safety top tips visit food.gov.uk/burgers or for food safety advice visit the council’s website www.basingstoke.gov.uk/foodsafety