Lifting Barbecue Bans and Salmonella Sense

An English authority has agreed to lift its ban on barbecuing in a public park – such is the popularity and insistence of residents to enjoy eating hot food outside in the summer months.

Bristol City Council and the Downs committee had originally considered investing in CCTV cameras to police the area for ‘illegal’ barbecues but realised the past-time was so popular that it made more sense to allow it in certain areas of the Downs.

So now happy Bristol residents can enjoy munching on hot burgers, sausages and skewered vegetables at any time without threat of arrest or a fixed penalty ticket.

To accommodate the new policy, one Downs committee member is proposing the use of concrete slabs.

Peter Abraham said: “I sort of came up with the idea from an experience in my own garden, where I haven’t got a barbecue place and just put a disposable one on the paving slabs.

“It worked perfectly so I thought if we sunk paving slabs throughout bits of the Downs, and said we could allow the disposable type of barbecues, I thought that would be meeting people half-way.

“I went past a few weeks ago and they [the public] were just lined up with these little disposables. Really having a nice time, young people enjoying themselves, and I think that should be encouraged in a proper way.”

Meanwhile, still on the subject of enjoying a barbecue in a public place, at we’re looking at the risk of Salmonella and how it develops.

Nutrition experts and Environmental Health Inspectors all agree it’s not necessarily the food you’re about to cook that you have to look out for but rather what you’re placing that steak and chicken on prior to cooking i.e. the public bench tops.

For instance, it’s not uncommon to find seagull droppings on them or even months-old grease which has dripped down into tile grouting. That’s why it’s a good idea to give any surface you’re planning to prep or cook on, a really good rub down with sanitising cloths.

According to the World Health Organization there are more than 2,500 types of Salmonella bacteria. It’s picked up through raw or undercooked poultry or beef, unwashed fruit, or surfaces which had raw foods on them and haven’t been cleaned property. Incidentally pet snakes can also carry the bacteria.

Babies and young children, pensioners and individuals who – because of certain medical conditions – have weak immune systems are particularly susceptible to the disease.

Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning include vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, and headache. It can also lead to form of chronic arthritis, called Reiter’s syndrome, in a few individuals. So, for these reasons alone, it’s best to avoid!

As well as sanitising your surfaces, other tips to avoid salmonella when barbecuing include:

  • Avoiding raw eggs and their products such a homemade mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce
  • Using a meat thermometer to ensure its cooked right through. Just because it’s no longer pink in the middle, doesn’t mean it won’t still have traces of Salmonella
  • Not handle a bird or lizard then eat a hamburger. Always wash your hands in between times

The above, apart from the raw egg part, are pretty self-explanatory and common sense tips. However, it’s easy when you’re having fun and enjoying yourself to have a lapse of concentration and forget. Try not to, for you certainly won’t forget the consequences! And if you still need a barbecue to take to the park with you then take a look at our brilliant gas barbecues range here.