Hope everyone enjoyed the weather (and of course the wedding!) last weekend. It’s really starting to feel like summer now, and it seems barbecue season is starting early in celebration of the unexpected sunshine!

However, much as we all love them, it’s an unfortunate fact that the barbecue itself – and other food and preparation associated with it – can be a haven for the germs responsible for the dreaded food poisoning. So to avoid upsetting your digestive system this summer, follow these top tips for good food – and good gut health!

  • Be prepared: Allow plenty of time for the barbecue to get going before starting to cook food. Wait until the charcoal is glowing red, with a grey surface.
  • Wash up: Always wash hands thoroughly, especially before preparing food. Also wash surfaces before starting any food preparation.
  • Get cooking! Cook food evenly, ensuring that everything on the barbecue is completely cooked and piping hot all the way through. Meat should not have any pink bits. Take particular care with chicken: wings and drumsticks can take a while to cook all the way through.
  • Chill out: Typical barbecue accompaniments such as dips and mayonnaise can be a haven for unfriendly bacteria if left out uncovered in the warm air. Keep food in the fridge until it is ready to be eaten.
  • Cover up. If you have prepared a buffet of food, keep it covered whenever possible to prevent flies transferring germs onto it. Remember that one housefly can carry hoards of bacteria!
  • Nice rice: Don’t leave rice dishes out in the heat for too long, and never re-heat in the oven or microwave – the bacterium B cereus can thrive in such dishes and can cause stomach upsets.