Planning a bank holiday BBQ? You ought to fake it, say food safety watchdogs

Katie Morley
The Food Standards Agency warning comes in the wake of recent major food scandals - Mats Landerberg / Rex Features

Home cooks planning a barbecue over the Bank Holiday should cook meat in the oven first, food safety watchdogs have warned.

The Food Standards Agency warning comes in the wake of recent major food scandals, including a batch of supermarket sausages which allegedly cause hepatitis, and foreign eggs infected with illegal insecticide.

The FSA is also concerned about a trend for pink-in-the-middle burgers, which it warns can make people ill.

It conducted a survey which found 43 per cent of people have been served undercooked meat at a barbecue, which it said potentially contributes to the 1 million cases of food poisoning in the UK every year.

It also found that 61 per cent don’t check there is no pink meat inside meat before eating it.

As such its number one piece of advice for barbecue safety is to fake it by pre-coooking. 

It said: "Consider cooking all chicken and pork in the oven prior to giving it a final ‘finish’ on your barbecue where possible.

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"Your friends and family will still experience that special barbecue ‘chargrilled’ taste – and you will know that you’ve cooked the chicken all the way through. This technique can also be used for sausages, burgers and kebabs if you’re cooking for large numbers."

Heather Hancock, Chair of the FSA Board said: “When you’re at a barbecue, remember that most types of meat should be cooked thoroughly to prevent food poisoning.  A beef burger, for example, isn't like a steak - it has bacteria present throughout.

"To make it safe to eat when prepared at home, it must be cooked through. Some restaurants are able to offer their customers burgers less than thoroughly cooked, but only because they have strict controls in place that are regulated and checked by enforcement officers.”

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Meanwhile despite reports of a scorching heatwave this bank holiday, forecasters now expect the weather to be mixed with some rain . 

A spokeswoman for the Met Office said: "It will probably be a bit mixed - most places will see some dry bright conditions but there will be some showers as well. 

"There will be showers around but we're not talking about six to nine hours of rain moving across the country. 

"During the second half of the weekend there might be a bit more of a north/south split across the country, so it'll be a bit more changeable in the north.

"Temperatures are likely to be in the high teens for Scotland, with highs in the early 20s in the south of England. They could reach around 24 degrees in the south east."

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