Simon says 'cook with care this summer' - NI

safefood and celebrity chef unite to remind consumers to practise food safety

4 June, 2007. Chef and TV regular Simon Rimmer joined safefood today to remind consumers to pay attention to food safety this summer, particularly when cooking meat that has been minced, skewered or rolled such as burgers, sausages and kebabs. These types of meats should be cooked thoroughly until piping hot all the way through and never served rare or pink in the middle, whether they are cooked on the barbecue or by more traditional ‘indoor’ methods.

With research revealing that 50% of burgers cooked in the home were not cooked properly and 40% of foods cooked at barbecues contained harmful bacteria , Simon and safefood are offering advice to consumers to make sure that barbecued food is properly cooked.

Dr Thomas Quigley, Director of Food Science, safefood explains: “With whole cuts of meat, such as steak, any harmful bacteria present will only live on the outside and will be killed by cooking. However, when meat is chopped or minced, the bacteria are moved around and into the centre of the food. To make these meats safe to eat, they must be cooked thoroughly until piping hot all the way through.

“To check that your meat is properly cooked, cut into the middle with a clean knife and check it is piping hot in the centre. Meat changes colour when cooked, so check that there is no pink meat left in the centre and the juices run clear.”

Supporting safefood’s focus on food safety, Simon Rimmer who is best known for his BBC 2 TV shows, ‘Something for the Weekend’ and ‘Making a Meal of It’ said: “There is no doubt that cooking on the barbecue can be a fun and relaxing way of eating healthily. However, putting together a healthy balanced menu for friends and family will be pointless if you don’t cook your meat properly or practise good food hygiene. Following safefood’s advice on food preparation, storage and cooking should protect you from food poisoning and ensure that food and eating outdoors is a safe, enjoyable and healthy experience – apart from our unpredictable weather!”

safefood’s advice for enjoying barbecues and outdoor eating is:

  • make sure that your meat is properly cooked – it should be piping hot the whole way through, with no pink meat remaining and the juices should run clear
  • when cooking your meat, turn it frequently to ensure it is cooked evenly
  • marinade used on raw meat should not be used to coat vegetables or cooked meat
  • use separate cooking utensils and plates for raw and cooked meat and always keep ready-to-eat foods and cooked meat completely separate from raw meat – harmful bacteria in raw meat, poultry and meat juices can contaminate cooked food and lead to food poisoning
  • keep all your perishable food in the fridge for as long as possible – germs can multiply rapidly as food reaches higher than normal storage temperature
  • allow your leftovers to cool before refrigerating but try to get cooked food into the fridge after cooking –within two hours
  • finally, always wash your hands before and after handling any food, particularly raw meat

Further food safety advice for consumers is available by calling the safefood helpline 0800 085 1683 or visiting the safefood website, www.safefood.eu

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For further information please contact

Leanne McCarroll/Kathy Doyle   
IAS SMARTS     
028 9039 5500  

Fiona Gilligan 
safefood
00353 1 448 0060