THE rain may loom large as the biggest threat to garden barbecues – but don't forget the risk of food poisoning.
The number of people who fall victim to food poisoning always rises in the summer, with children and the elderly most at risk.
The safest option is to cook food using your oven. You can then put the cooked food on the barbecue for flavour.
If you are cooking on the barbecue, the two main risk factors are undercooked meat and spreading germs from raw meat on to food that's ready to eat. This is because raw or undercooked meat can contain germs that cause food poisoning, such as Salmonella and E coli. However, these germs can be killed by cooking meat until it is piping hot throughout.
Germs can move easily from your hands on to anything else you touch. When you're cooking any kind of meat on a barbecue, make sure:
* The coals are glowing red with a powdery grey surface.
* Frozen meat is properly thawed before you cook it.
* You turn the meat regularly to cook it evenly.
Remember that meat is safe to eat only when:
* It is piping hot in the centre.
* There is no pink meat visible.
* Any juices run clear.