DUDLEY Council environmental health officers are encouraging people to have a sizzling but safe barbecue this bank holiday weekend.

The food safety experts are encouraging residents to follow the Food Standards Agency’s tips for beating bugs while they brown their burgers and sizzle their sausages.

According to the official figures, cases of food poisoning almost double during the summer, and research shows that the undercooking of raw meat and the contamination of bacteria onto food already prepared which we then eat are among the main reasons.

Councillor Rachel Harris, cabinet member for health, said: “We all want to protect the health of our family and friends, and the Food Safety Agency’s simple advice shows how we can prepare food safely and cut the risk of spreading barbecue bugs such as E.coli, salmonella and campylobacter.”

Top tips:

  • Pre-cook the meat or poultry in the oven first and then finish it off on the barbecue for flavour.

• Charred doesn’t mean cooked: make sure that burgers, sausages, chicken and all meats are properly cooked by cutting into the meat and checking that it is steaming hot all the way through, that none of it is pink and that any juices run clear.

• Disposable barbecues take longer: always check that your meat is cooked right through.

• Avoid cross-contamination by storing raw meat separately before cooking, and use different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked food.

• Don’t wash raw chicken or other meat, it just splashes germs.

For more savvy sizzler tips, visit www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2014/aug/barbecue.