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With summer finally showing its face, the BBQ will soon to be taking centre stage – after the recent spell of hot weather it’s probably already had its first outing!

spyglass_3Summer is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities; swimming, hiking, sports and of course BBQ’s, but it is also important to steer clear of accidents, injuries and potential health hazards.

By taking simple, common-sense precautions, you can help keep yourself and those around you safe – this week we discuss BBQ’s and basic Food Safety.

General Tips

• Make sure your barbecue is in good working order

• Ensure the barbecue is on a flat site, well away from a shed, trees or shrubs

• Keep children, garden games and pets well away from the cooking area

• Never leave the barbecue unattended

• Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies

• Ensure the barbecue is cool before attempting to move it

Charcoal Barbecues

• Use only enough charcoal to cover the base to a depth of about 50mm (2 inches)

• Only use recognised fire lighters or starter fuel and only on cold coals – use the minimum necessary and never use petrol or lighter fluid

• Never put hot ashes straight into a dustbin or wheelie bin – they could melt the plastic and cause a fire

Gas Barbecues

• Make sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinder

• Change cylinders outdoors if possible or in a well ventilated area

• If you suspect a leak to the cylinder or pipe work, brush soapy water around the joints and watch for bubbles – tighten to fix but do not over tighten

• After cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before turning off at the controls to ensure any residual gas in the pipe work is used up

Food Safety

Summer is the season for outdoor barbecues and picnics; however, food-related illness can sometimes put a damper on these outdoor activities – it’s estimated that 5 million people got food poisoning last year.

• Cook meat, poultry and seafood thoroughly. Use a meat thermometer to be sure your grilled meats are cooked properly on the inside

• Don’t cross-contaminate one food with another

• Wash your hands, utensils and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry and before they touch another food

• Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature, so refrigerate leftover foods promptly

• Wash produce thoroughly to remove visible dirt, and discard the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage

The Salad Drawer – the most dangerous place in the fridge.

Salad drawers in fridges can contain more than 750 times the level of bacteria considered safe.

Potentially killer bugs such as E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria are among those found by researchers, yet regular cleaning of fridges is ignored by many people, creating conditions for bugs to breed and diseases to spread, compromising food safety.

• Wipe up liquid spills in your fridge when they occur

• Remove out-of-date food regularly – at least once a week

• Tip out and clear up organic debris before refilling your salad drawer and link this with your shopping frequency

• Every 3 months, although monthly is better, empty the fridge right out and clean the lining, shelves, drawers and inside with hot soapy water, and then wipe/rinse with clean water to remove traces of soap

By following these simple tips you’ll ensure a safer, more enjoyable summer for you and those around you.

Next week we share our top tips for sun protection, protection from heat stroke and what to do in the event of heat stroke and water safety.