DUBAI // If you're planning on welcoming in 2011 with a barbecue, don't let food poisoning ruin the new year.
That's the message from Dubai Municipality's food control department, which is reminding would-be cooks of the necessary safety precautions.
"Outdoor grilling and barbecuing brings the risk of food poisoning," said Asia Abdulwahad, the acting head of the food studies and planning section. "It's not a good idea to carry cooked food like meat or rice and leave it at ambient temperature for long.
"Hot food should be kept at 60°C or above. If you do not have hot holding equipment don't keep the food for more than four hours between production and consumption."
Cooked meat should be kept separate from raw during transport and handling to avoid spreading germs, she said. People handling raw meat should wash their hands before and after touching it and use sanitisers if water availability is low. Separate utensils should be used for raw and cooked foods.
Ms Abdulwahad said low-risk foods included bread, biscuits and whole fruits in which germs would not grow as quickly.
Festivities for the Gregorian New Year fall in the middle of the barbecue season, which runs from September to April, according to Calvin Platfoot, who owns the barbecue supply company, Gulf Leisure.
"When barbecuing ensure the gas hose from the cylinder is not damaged and the burners should be clean," he said. "If the product has been left for a long time there is a chance of insects getting in there. Staying safe is really about common sense."