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Health chief warns of barbecue risks
WIRRAL’S public health chief is warning people to take extra care when cooking on a barbecue this Summer.
With the warmer weather making an appearance on the borough, Fiona Johnstone, director of public health, is recommending that food be cooked in the oven before adding to a barbecue for flavour.
She wants to emphasise that cases of food poisoning double over the summer when less care is taken over food hygiene during outdoor cooking and food preparation. If you are cooking on a barbecue, the two main risk factors are undercooked meat and spreading germs from raw meat onto food that’s ready to eat.
Ms Johnstone said: “The safest option is to cook food indoors using your oven. You can then put the cooked food on the barbecue for flavour – but make sure it is piping hot all the way through. This can also be an easier option if you're cooking for a lot of people at the same time. “Don’t assume that because meat is charred on the outside it will be cooked properly on the inside. Cut the meat at the thickest part to make sure it isn’t pink on the inside.
“You also need to remember to keep some foods cool to prevent food-poisoning germs multiplying, so don’t leave food out of the fridge for more than a couple of hours, and don’t leave food in the sun.”
Most people with food poisoning will get better without the need for treatment but symptoms can be relieved by drinking plenty of fluids and eating easily digested food such as toast.
Ms Johnstone added: “If you do become ill, drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration – this is particularly important for young children, older people and if you have another illness. Anyone who falls into one of these groups may need rehydration salts, which are available from pharmacies.
“Remember, staff in your local pharmacy will be able to give you expert advice on upset stomachs, and a range of other common complaints.”