Avoiding An Unwanted Summer BBQ Guest

BBQ chicken drumsticks
Dr Lisa Ackerley
Written by Dr Lisa Ackerley
Hygiene and Food Safety Expert

73% of UK chickens are still testing positive for this potentially deadly pathogen.

Last month the Food Standards Agency (FSA) released the final set of results from their year-long survey on fresh chickens, results that confirmed that every UK supermarket had failed to hit the targets set by the FSA. Not ideal news now that we’re moving into barbeque season.

While the supermarkets are looking at interventions and controls to reduce the number of contaminated chickens on their shelves, it’s up to us to make sure we are not serving chicken with a campylobacter garnish this summer. This nasty bug can easily infect a healthy individual in very small doses and therefore it’s important that you take extra care.

Infection Control

When working with contaminated raw meat, it’s important that you’re mindful of the danger that it poses and that you use your own infection control measures. 

All it takes is a small mistake such as using the same utensils to put raw chicken onto the barbecue as you use to take the cooked food off to create a significant number of sufferers. 

Always use separate utensils or disinfect the raw utensils thoroughly before using them for cooked foods. Leave BBQ tongs over the flame of the barbeque for a few minutes to kill any lingering bacteria.

Another good control is to get hold of and use a good meat thermometer to ensure that the chicken meat has reached a temperature of at least 75°C.

One of the most important keys to reducing the risk of cross-contamination is to simply employ good hand hygiene. Handling and preparing raw chicken before preparing wraps, buns, bread or any other ready to eat food will make for a poor barbeque reputation!

Go Stress-Free

Instead of worrying about getting the chicken right, why not poach the chicken pieces first? Simply cook the chicken in stock and you can then use a flavoured chicken rub and then finish it off on the BBQ. 

If you’d like to poach the meat and then store to finish later then you should place the poached chicken onto a cooled metal tray and then put it in the fridge once it’s stopped steaming. It’s also worth covering the meat to make sure that flies and other insects can’t land on it.


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