Sunday 25 June 2017

Smart Consumer: Five things you need to know to keep food safe this summer

Talking of safety, if you're handy with the BBQ or planning al fresco dining this summer, you'll need to be more cautious than when cooking and eating indoors.

1. Unless you want your food to become an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, keep cooked meats, anything with mayonnaise in it and dairy products in an insulated cool box or bag. Leave it in the coolest part of your car or a shaded place if outdoors. And bring it out only at the last minute when you're ready to eat.

2. Later, if there is still ice left in your cool box and you are sure any unused food hasn't been warmed up, it should be safe to bring home. But if in doubt, throw it out.

3. Any minced meat needs to be cooked the whole way through on a BBQ, as bacteria may be mixed throughout the meat. Check by cutting the meat to ensure there is no pink meat and juices run clear.

4. To prevent cross-contamination keep raw food separate from ready-to- eat food. Use separate utensils when handling the food and remember to wash your hands or use anti-bacterial wipes or gel.

5. And another scary fact: food-poisoning germs can be carried by birds, insects and other animals, so pack away food and utensils when you're not using them.

For more information on food safety go to www.safefood.eu.

Irish Independent

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