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Food Safety Tips for Barbecuing

Many people like barbecuing. However, if we do not handle food properly during barbecuing, it may cause food poisoning. It is important to follow the tips in shopping, preparation, cooking, eating and storage of barbecued food to enhance food safety.


  • Take frozen and refrigerated food, like meat and poultry last, right before checkout
  • Separate raw meat and poultry from other food to prevent cross-contamination
  • Check expiry date on the package and the package of BBQ packs

Preparation before barbecuing

  • Clean the racks, trays or grilling utensils thoroughly before and after barbecuing
  • Start barbecuing only when the coals, ovens or grilling utensils reach the cooking temperature to reduce the time of barbecuing

When you prepare food for barbecuing at home -

  • Defrost food completely to avoid undercooking of the interior
  • Defrost food in refrigerator, running water or microwave oven and avoid defrosting food at room temperature
  • Keep prepared food refrigerated until we cook it


  • Keep all food covered to prevent cross-contamination
  • Avoid prolonged exposure of food under sunshine and keep food cold by using ice-packs
  • Cook meat thoroughly to destroy harmful bacteria


  • Separate raw food and cooked food to avoid cross-contamination
  • Use clean platter and utensil when serving
  • Eat cooked food as soon as it is ready

Does eating barbecued meat pose increased cancer risk?

Recent studies show that a cancer-causing compound, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), can be produced when barbecued meat is not processed properly. Therefore, we should not overindulge in barbecued food and take a balanced diet. If we go for barbecuing, we can take the following precautions to reduce the risk -

  • Choose lean meat rather than meat with high-fat content;
  • Trim visible fat to avoid dripping onto the heat source;
  • Pre-cook food partially by microwave oven or boiling to reduce cooking time for barbecuing
  • Avoid barbecuing food immediately above the heat source to prevent direct contact of food with the heat source and dripping onto the heat source
  • Prevent charring
  • Grill food in foil packets to avoid contamination from smoke and flame
  • Remove any burnt portions

For related information, please contact the Communication Resource Unit.
Tel.: 23816096
Address: 8-F, Fa Yuen Street Municipal Services Building,
123A Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon.

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department
Enquiry Hotline 2868 0000

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2007 copyright logo | Important notices Last Revision Date : 10-11-2009