New safefood research has revealed that over a quarter (27%) of home cooks in Northern Ireland have admitted serving up a barbeque cooking catastrophe, with one in ten disclosing that guests had gotten sick after eating food that wasn’t cooked properly.

The poll of 500 adults across Northern Ireland (carried out in June 2020) also uncovered that over half of people (52%) are at risk of getting sick from eating burgers that are burnt on the outside, but still raw in the inside.

Other common barbeque blunders that caused havoc with people’s alfresco dining experience included the grill taking too long to heat up (25%), serving up too much food (20%) and setting fire to the grill (8%).

The research was commissioned by safefood to encourage people to follow good food safety habits when preparing and cooking food on the barbeque this July bank holiday weekend as part of its Well Done BBQ Burger campaign.

Whether you’re a self-proclaimed BBQ legend or a first-timer, it’s important to know how to cook foods like burgers, chicken and sausages thoroughly to avoid making you, your family or friends sick.

Dr Gary Kearney, Director of Food Safety at safefood, said: “The research has shown that many of us still lack the confidence when it comes to knowing how to properly cook meat & poultry, with almost half of respondents stating that the hardest part of cooking a barbeque is knowing when the meat is cooked thoroughly.

“Foods like burgers, chicken and sausages must be cooked thoroughly, and absolutely never served rare or pink in the middle as this can cause food poisoning. You know they are cooked when they’re piping hot all the way through, the juices run clear and there’s no pink meat left.   With our tips & advice, we want people to have confidence in safe BBQ cooking by following good food safety advice and avoiding any food poisoning situations they can keep their families safe. –  Lots of practical help and recipes are available on the safefood website www.safefood.eu.”

The research also revealed that almost three-quarters of local barbeque goers (72%) voted a flavoursome burger as their favourite barbeque meat, proving a more popular choice than sausages (67%), chicken (57%) and steak (44%).

When it comes to determining who wears the all-important BBQ King or Queen apron, while perceptions might lead us to believe that men dominate the barbeque, the research revealed that more women in Northern Ireland barbeque than men, but only slightly at 52%.

Despite the ever-changing Northern Ireland weather, over a third of us (34%) are barbequing more than usual this year, with 27% rolling out the BBQ with the same enthusiasm as previous years. 27% stated that they haven’t barbequed yet this year.

For more barbeque information including great recipes visit: www.safefood.eu

safefood’s 7 top tips for a safe barbeque

  1. Keep perishable foods like salads, coleslaw and quiche in your fridge until you are about to serve them.
  2. Burgers, sausages and kebabs, pork and poultry must be cooked all the way through – but steaks can be served ‘rare’ as harmful bacteria are on the outside only (and not in the centre).
  3. If you like to marinate your meat, make sure any marinade used on raw meat is not then used as a sauce to coat vegetables or cooked meat as it will contain raw meat bacteria.
  4. If you choose to barbeque any frozen food, it must be firstly completely thawed on the bottom shelf of your fridge before you cook it.
  5. When handling raw meat and poultry, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, most importantly before going on to prepare salads and other ready to eat foods.
  6. Once your meat is cooked thoroughly, make sure to keep cooked meat separate from raw meat and to use separate chopping boards, cooking utensils and plates. Harmful bacteria in raw meat, poultry and their juices can cross contaminate cooked food and lead to food poisoning, something your family won’t thank you for.
  7. If there are leftovers from your barbeque, allow the food to cool before refrigerating, however make sure to refrigerate food within two hours of cooking and store for a maximum of three days. Always remember that with leftovers – if in doubt, throw it out.
Nadia Duncan

Author: Nadia Duncan

Editor

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