"Many people think that food poisoning is just a passing stomach bug but it can be very serious," says Councillor Eileen Lintill, Cabinet Member for Community Services at Chichester District Council. "Anyone in the family could get food poisoning but children and elderly people are especially at risk.

"We know lots of residents will be hosting barbecues for their family and friends and going on picnics this summer. By following our food safety advice, people can have a great time and stay healthy."

In hot weather, it is important to keep food chilled where possible to prevent harmful bacteria growing. It is best to keep food in the fridge until it is needed, but this is not always possible at a barbecue or picnic. For these occasions, using a cool box with ice and frozen gel packs distributed throughout is a good way to keep food chilled.

When food is left out at room temperature for too long, the risk of bacteria increases which makes it unsafe to eat. Leftover food should be stored in the fridge as soon as it has cooled or put back in the cool box. Any food left out for longer than two hours should be thrown away to minimise the risk of food poisoning.

Cooking food kills harmful bacteria so it is important to make sure this is done properly. The FSA is reminding everybody to:

  • Check that meat is fully defrosted before cooking.
  • Keep raw and cooked food separate to avoid cross-contamination and use different utensils for each.
  • Turn the meat regularly during cooking to ensure it cooks evenly.
  • Test that the meat is fully cooked before serving by cutting through the thickest part and making sure there is no pink meat and that any juices run clear.
  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling food to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Find out more about the FSA's top tips for barbecues and picnics

Date of release: 9 July 2018

Reference: 3821