Barbecue food safety. Cooking and refrigeration tips.
Lingering hot sunny days, balmy, alfresco evenings…few things inspire a bout of barbecuing action quite like the closing days of the Aussie summer.
And nothing kills those warm weather vibes faster than a bout of food poisoning!
There are four key things you should consider to ensure the safety of the food you serve up from the barbecue; storage position and temperature, cooking temperatures, cross-contamination and storage time. Here’s the low down.
Storage position and temperature
You know that old saying: ‘hot air rises’? Well, it’s no joke when it comes to storing your barbecue goodies. If you want to stay on the right side of the food poisoning police, you need to store different meat products below a specific maximum temperature. The handy graphic above shows you how to pick the correct shelf to keep those temperatures where they need to be, whatever’s on your barbecue menu this weekend.And remember, if the barbecue you’re going to is an ‘away game’ it’s vital that you seal uncooked and ready-prepared foods in separate containers and ensure your esky contains enough ice to chill your goodies to the correct temperature while you’re in transit.
Cooking meat to the correct internal temperature kills nasties like salmonella, E. coli, and listeria that cause food poisoning, so it’s critical in order to avoid any mishaps.
The first step is to ensure you’ve thoroughly thawed any frozen meat before cooking. You can use the graphic above as a guide to the minimum temperature your choice of meat should be cooked at. Turn everything on your barbecue regularly during cooking to ensure it is cooked evenly. The goal is to ensure your choice of meat reaches the correct internal temperature:
71°C: Anything containing minced or ground meat, including sausages.
74°C: Poultry including whole chickens or turkeys, and chicken/turkey cuts such as thighs, wings, legs and breasts.
63°C: Fish and seafood.
A meat thermometer like the one pictured here is the best way to judge the internal temperature of your barbecued meats accurately.
Cross contamination occurs when you transfer germs that cause food poisoning, including salmonella, E. coli, and listeria, which are present in raw meats from cooking utensils, platters or your hands, to cooked food.
The keys to avoiding cross-contamination are to keep the utensils you are using for raw and cooked meats separate, and to wash your hands after handling raw meat. Don’t be tempted to pour left-over marinade onto cooked meats, or to return cooked meat to the plate or bowl you were marinading it in, if you haven’t given it a thorough wash.
When you’ve got something tasty sitting in the fridge and you don’t throw it on the barbecue quite when you expect to, we know it’s tempting to try to eke it out for another day or two. But believe it or not, those use-by dates on the packaging actually mean something! There really is a limit to how long you can keep raw meat, fish and poultry hanging around in the fridge. Use this graphic here as your guide!
‘Mates don’t serve mates off meat,’ is our motto here at Gasmate. It’s important to remember that while food poisoning is generally mild, it can be extremely serious and even deadly. Follow the simple rules above, avoid the risks, and happy barbecuing.