A new health campaign is urging barbecue lovers to “trust the meat thermometer”.
According to new research from safefood, more than half of home cooks (55%) risk giving friends and family food poisoning as they are unsure of how to cook meat to the correct temperature, and less than 2% follow basic food safety rules.
The advice says that meat should be piping hot all the way through, juices should run clear when pierced, and there should be no pink meat.
All home cooks are now urged to use a thermometer to protect their family and friends from a barbecue disaster over the July holidays.
The correct temperature for burgers, chicken and sausages is 75 degrees Celsius on the barbecue, something even experienced cooks must check.
Previous research from safefood has found that over a quarter of cooks (27%) here admitted to failings when preparing food on an outside grill, with one in 10 admitting their guests ended up sick after eating undercooked meat.
Dr Gary Kearney of safefood, said: “For many of us, a barbecue is one of those social activities that we can currently enjoy; all we need is our favourite BBQ foods, salads and a barbecue to cook them on.
"But if there’s one item to bring to your barbecue this summer, it’s a trusty meat thermometer.”
Dr Lynsey Hollywood, lead researcher and manager of the Food & Drink Business Development Centre at Ulster University, said: “What was interesting from the research was the low level of meat thermometer ownership and usage. We also found that people perceived meat thermometers as being only for professionals, troublesome to use and expensive to purchase.
“However, they are a foolproof tool, easy to use, can be purchased for as little as £8-10 and are widely available from home retail and hardware outlets.”
Darragh Milligan, aka Belfast Undercover Chef, urged home cooks to play it safe when firing up the barbecue.
“No matter how much of a barbecue star you think you are, it’s important to ensure you cook foods like burgers, chicken and sausages thoroughly,” he said.
"I want to encourage home cooks to up their grill game by using a meat thermometer to take the guesswork out of cooking meat. I t’s just as important a tool for barbecuing as the grill .”