As barbeque and picnic season approaches residents are being urged to think harder about food safety when eating outdoors and in warmer weather.
There are an estimated 1 million cases of food poisoning in the UK every year, with e-coli, listeria and salmonella more prevalent in the warmer months.
'The risk of food poisoning goes up when the summer sun does'
Rochdale Borough Council is backing the Food Standards Agency's food safety week campaign which is urging people to remember the 4Cs of food hygiene: chilling, cooking, cleaning and avoiding cross-contamination this summer.
Good food hygiene can help prevent most forms of food-borne disease but new research from the FSA's 'Food and you survey' shows that people could be putting themselves and their families at risk of food poisoning through lack of knowledge.
In the survey 60% of people in the North West didn't know how to defrost meat safely and half didn't know the correct temperature a fridge should be kept at.
'Enjoy a lovely summer without nasty illnesses'
To stay safe and avoid food poisoning this summer people are being advised to follow eight simple steps:
- Make sure frozen meat is fully thawed before cooking – defrost in the fridge or microwave on the defrost setting, not a room temperature.
- Keep cold, perishable foods below 5 degrees.
- Use different chopping boards and utensils for raw meat – store raw meat separately from ready-to-eat food.
- Pre-cook chicken and pork in the oven – finish them on the barbeque knowing that the meat is safely cooked through.
- Don't overload the barbeque – and remember that disposable barbeques take longer to heat up and to cook food.
- Cook burgers, sausages, kebabs, pork and chicken until they're steaming hot, there is no pink meat and any juices run clear.
- Don't serve rare burgers – harmful bacteria may be present in the middle of a pink burger.
- Don't leave food out for longer than 2 hours – 1 hour if it's very hot outside.
Councillor Jacqueline Beswick, Rochdale Borough Council's cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "We all love the summertime when we can enjoy barbeques and picnics with our friends and families; but we need to make sure that we're keeping our loved ones safe when it comes to food. Unfortunately, the risk of food poisoning goes up when the summer sun does, so we need to follow good food hygiene practises to protect ourselves and those we love. I urge everyone to follow the 8 simple steps and enjoy a lovely summer without nasty illnesses."
For tips on how to stay safe with food this summer visit
Your definitive guide to safe summer food.