Barbecue Grills And Smokers

Barbecue Hygiene

How to improve Barbecue Hygiene

Whilst the the lure of the garden party barbecue and the smell of sizzling sausages and steaks wafts on the air, the risk of food poisoning can increase.

You can ensure proper food hygiene by taking a few simple precautions.

Whatever you're cooking up this summer, keep food safe for friends and family with our barbecue tips.

Food Standard Agency's advice

Bugs such as E.coli O157, salmonella and campylobacter can cause serious illness. But you can steer clear of food poisoning by taking some simple steps.

How can I make sure barbecued food is cooked properly?

Following these simple guidelines:

  • Wait until the charcoal is glowing red, with a powdery grey surface, before you start to cook.
  • Make sure frozen food is properly thawed before you cook it.
  • Turn the food regularly, and move it around the barbecue, to cook it evenly.
  • Check that the centre of the food is properly cooked by using a barbecue thermometer to test the meat.

Why should I keep raw meat away from other food?

Raw meat can contain food poisoning bugs. So if it touches food that has already been cooked or is ready to eat (such as salad and bread), the bugs can get onto that food. In fact, anything that touches raw meat could carry the bugs to other food.

Here's how you can stop the bugs spreading:

  • Stop raw meat from touching or dripping onto other food.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat.
  • Use separate utensils for raw and cooked meat.
  • Never put cooked food on a plate or surface that has been used for raw meat (unless it has been washed thoroughly).
  • Don't add sauce

Types of food poisoning and symptoms

Types of food poisoning include Camplyobacter, Salmonella, E coli


Incubation period: up to 11 days
Duration of illness: up to three weeks
Symptoms: stomach cramps, diarrhoea, feeling unwell
Associated foods: poultry, raw or undercooked meats
Control measures: Proper refrigeration, thorough heating


Incubation period: 12 to 48 hours
Duration of illness: one to seven days (may be longer)
Symptoms: diarrhoea, vomiting, temperature
Associated foods: poultry, eggs, contaminated foods, infected food handlers
Control measures: proper refrigeration thorough heating

E coli

Incubation period: one to 14 days
Duration of illness: two weeks or more
Symptoms: diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal pain, Secondary affects such as kidney failure and haemolytic uraemic syndrome.

Associated foods: raw meat, contaminated foods, undercooked burgers, meat products and mince.

Control measures: thorough cooking (heating the centre of burgers to at least 70 degrees centigrade for at least two minutes).


To always wash your hands before starting the cooking, and wash salads and vegetables through thoroughly. Ensure all your barbecue accessories, tongs, skewers and forks etc, are spotlessly clean.

Use separate utensils for raw and cooked food, defrost frozen meat and poultry fully before cooking (ideally defrosting should be carried out in the fridge), and keep raw and cooked food separate.

Cover all barbecue food to protect it from insects and dust, and keep meat, salads and other perishable foods in the fridge until you are ready to use them. Pre-cook poultry and then barbecue cook poultry, sausages, burgers and chopped or minced meats until the juices run clear.

Clean your barbecue grill and accessories thoroughly after use with a good barbecue cleaner, don't leave anything to chance as food poisoning can easily be avoided if the correct precautions are taken.