We all love a good barbecue, inviting our friends and family over for a Summer get-together, but there can be dangers lurking if the food you are serving is not cooked properly. Cases of food poisoning almost double in the Summer.
Here are my tips to ensure you enjoy your Summer barbecued food, and reduce the risk of getting struck down by food poisoning:
- First and foremost, ensure your meat, fish, chicken, burgers and sausages are cooked all the way through. Very often if you don’t get the temperature right, you can get burnt sausages on the outside and undercooked meat on the inside. Remember charred doesn’t mean cooked.
- Chicken, not cooked properly can give you a nasty gut infection called campylobacter with viscous painful bouts of diarrhoea and abdominal cramps. This can be a dangerous infection, and can cause permanent disability. Children and the elderly are particularly at risk.The juices from the chicken should run clear. If there is still blood in the juices the chicken is still under-cooked. It’s a good idea to pre-cook your chicken in the oven before your guests arrive, then just finish it off on the barbecue. It still gives them that barbecued flavour, but you’ve ensured the meat is cooked all the way through. Other types of food poisoning bacteria are salmonella and E-coli 0157
- Don’t be fooled into thinking salad is safe. Ensure your salads are washed properly especially if it’s bagged salad and keep it in the fridge, only bringing it out when your barbecued meats are ready to be served. This is more important if the weather is particularly hot.
- If you are serving dips like mayonnaise, hummus, guacamole etc, again keep them in the fridge until ready to be served
- Keep plates and cutlery away from raw meat, fish and chicken
It takes very little time at all for food poisoning bacteria to rapidly multiply in hot weather and if you already have a delicate stomach or you are taking antacid medication, you are more at risk from such an infection.
Activated charcoal has a long tradition for its ability to absorb and ‘trap’ the bacteria that causes food poisoning, at the same time slowing down transit time in the bowel so reducing the episodes of diarrhoea.
I recommend that everyone should have a pot of Charcoal capsules in their medicine cabinet this Summer, just in case of need. My Just For Tummies activated Charcoal capsules are made from coconut shells, are suitable for vegetarians and vegans and contain no gluten, dairy, sugar or salt. At just £13 for 60 capsules they are an inexpensive and natural way to help combat food poisoning.
A word of caution though. If you’ve had excessive episodes of diarrhoea, 10 x daily for three days or more, especially babies and the elderly, this needs checking by a Pharmacist or GP, as dehydration can be a complication, together with electrolyte imbalance.
Read more about the dangers of taking regular, long term antacid medication in my next blog.