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Food Safety Focus (197th Issue, December 2022)– Article 4

Enjoying Barbecue Safely and Healthily

The reopening of barbecue pits makes barbecuing more accessible now. Before firing up the grill, there are a few points to note for prepping food safely.  Hazardous chemicals, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrogens, could be formed when food is heated above 200°C while fat decomposes. In addition, we should stay vigilant on the pathogens in undercooked food and the cross-contamination of cooked food by raw food could cause food poisoning.

To reduce the formation of hazardous chemicals when cooking food at a barbecue, avoid direct contact of food with the flame, likewise fats from dripping into the heat source. While not overcooked and charring, the food should be cooked thoroughly to kill foodborne pathogens. Charred food should not be consumed and the charred parts should be removed. To prevent cross-contamination, use different utensils to handle raw and cooked food separately and maintain hand hygiene. For the sake of a healthy diet, it is essential to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.