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Tag: Food

Barbecue Food Safety

Food poisoning cases double over the summer, so remember these simple steps to help keep food safe.


 Food poisoning is usually mild, and most people get better within a week. But sometimes it can be more severe, even deadly, so it’s important to take the risks seriously. Children, older people and those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning.

“The safest option is to cook food indoors using your oven,” says a spokesperson from the Food Standards Agency (FSA). “You can then put the cooked food outside on the barbecue for flavour.” This can be an easier option if you’re cooking for a lot of people at the same time.

If you are only cooking on the barbecue, the two main risk factors are:

  • undercooked meat
  • spreading germs from raw meat onto food that’s ready to eat

This is because raw or undercooked meat can contain germs that cause food poisoning, such as salmonella, E.coli and campylobacter. However, these germs can be killed by cooking meat until it is piping hot throughout.

Germs from raw meat can move easily onto your hands and then onto anything else you touch, such as food that is cooked and ready to eat

Cooking meat on a barbecue

When you’re cooking any kind of meat on a barbecue, such as poultry (chicken or turkey), pork, steak, burgers or sausages, make sure:

  • the coals are glowing red with a powdery grey surface before you start cooking, as this means that they’re hot enough
  • frozen meat is properly thawed before you cook it
  • you turn the meat regularly and move it around the barbecue to cook it evenly

Remember that meat is safe to eat only when:

  • it is piping hot in the centre
  • there is no pink meat visible
  • any juices are clear

“Don’t assume that because meat is charred on the outside it will be cooked properly on the inside,” says the FSA spokesperson. “Cut the meat at the thickest part and ensure none of it is pink on the inside.”

Some meat, such as steaks and joints of beef or lamb, can be served rare (not cooked in the middle) as long as the outside has been properly cooked. This will kill any bacteria that might be on the outside of the meat. However, food made from minced meat, such as sausages and burgers, must be cooked thoroughly all the way through. Best weight loss supplement Radiantly Slim Diet.

Raw meat

Germs from raw meat can move easily onto your hands and then onto anything else you touch, including food that is cooked and ready to eat. This is called cross-contamination.

Cross-contamination can happen if raw meat touches anything (including plates, cutlery, tongs and chopping boards) that then comes into contact with other food.

Some easy steps to help prevent cross-contamination are:

  • always wash your hands after touching raw meat
  • use separate utensils (plates, tongs, containers) for cooked and raw meat
  • never put cooked food on a plate or surface that has had raw meat on it
  • keep raw meat in a sealed container away from foods that are ready to eat, such as salads and buns
  • don’t put raw meat next to cooked or partly cooked meat on the barbecue
  • don’t put sauce or marinade on cooked food if it has already been used with raw meat

Keeping food cool

It’s also important to keep some foods cool to prevent food poisoning germs multiplying.

Make sure you keep the following foods cool:

  • salads
  • dips
  • milk, cream, yoghurt
  • desserts and cream cakes
  • sandwiches
  • ham and other cooked meats
  • cooked rice, including rice salads

Don’t leave food out of the fridge for more than a couple of hours, and don’t leave food in the sun.

See the Food Standard Agency’s GermWatch campaign.

Fire safety

Make sure your barbecue is steady on a level surface, away from plants and trees.

The Fire Service advises covering the bottom of your barbecue with coal to a depth of no more than 5cm (2in). Use only recognised firelighters or starter fuel, and then only on cold coals.

Never use petrol on a barbecue.

See more on the Fire Service’s barbecue safety tips.

Healthy Food Pairings for Optimal Nutrient Benefits

We all know the do’s and don’ts of healthy eating, but what you might not know is that there are certain foods that you should eat together in a meal in order to reap the full benefits of each of their respective nutrients, as well as improve how your body uses them. These healthy food pairings will give you optimal nutrient benefits and keep you feeling great.


Green vegetables such as kale, spinach, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, zucchini and others are very nutrient-rich foods that can also help ward off illness. They’re also low in calories, which means they might not keep you full for very long. Pair them with healthy fats such as avocados, olives, coconut, nuts and seeds, all of which provide extra vitamins and minerals and soak up all the nutrients from the greens to improve your body’s functions.

How to pair them: Add some spinach, avocado and nuts/seeds to your next fruit smoothie, or top your soup and salad with nuts, coconut butter or almond butter.

Berries & Grains

Foods rich in Vitamin C help increase your body’s uptake of iron, which is why vitamin C-rich berries go so well with iron-rich grains. Plus, the water content from the berries helps aid in the digestion of fiber from the grains. When paired together, both help control blood pressure.

How to pair them: Add berries to your oatmeal, quinoa and other grains, or throw some cooked grains into your fruit salad.

Healthy Fats & Mushrooms

The most efficient and effective way for the body to absorb Vitamin D is in the presence of healthy fats. Therefore, Vitamin D-rich mushrooms are best utilized by the body when healthy fats are also present.

How to pair them: Add some avocado, olives, or some sliced almonds to your next dish with mushrooms. How about a roasted Portabello mushroom with some marinara sauce, olives, and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a healthy, low-carb vegan pizza?

Lemons & Greens

As mentioned, Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron better, and leafy greens are one of the best sources of plant-based iron.

How to pair them: Substitute your typical salad dressing with lemon juice, squeeze some over some roasted kale or sauteed spinach, or add a wedge to your next green smoothie for a delicious flavor.

Tomatoes & Healthy Fats

Tomatoes are one of the best sources of the anti-cancer nutrient known as lycopene, which is better absorbed in the body when tomatoes are cooked and consumed with some healthy fats.

How to pair them: Cook tomatoes together with mushrooms and olives, and top off with avocados.

Information gathered from OneGreenPlanet.org.

OP-Ed: The Food Industry Should Not Be Able to Buy Studies

How does a failing company keep shareholders from fleeing? How do low-ranked law schools convince new students to fork over expensive tuition for a devalued degree? They juke the stats. You don’t need to fabricate numbers or blatantly lie. Just use misdirection to paint a rosier picture. Divert attention away from the giant leak in the ceiling and focus on the shiny new kitchen appliances. Present numbers or features that sound good and keep the bad news out of view.

They’re not the only ones. How does the food industry keep getting people to buy food that is killing them? You guessed it. They’ve mastered the art of juking the stats.

Earlier this week a study released in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that the sugar industry paid large sums of money to Harvard researchers in the 1960’s to influence medical opinion on the link between sugar and heart disease. Bought researchers downplayed the role sugar played in America’s growing heart disease epidemic and turned attention instead to dietary fats.

These studies were originally published in highly respected journals like the New England Journal of Medicine. This misdirect led to a slew of “low-fat” or “non-fat” foods in grocery aisles that were packed full of sugar.

"Light" and "Low Fat" are often codewords for "High Sugar"
“Light” and “Low Fat” are often codewords for “High Sugar”

The consequence of these practices is enormous. “We have to ask ourselves how many lives and dollars could have been saved, and how different today’s health picture would be, if the industry were not manipulating science in this way,” Jim Krieger, executive director of Health Food America

Misery loves company

Big Sugar is not alone. The rest of the food industry is using the same scheme to make their products seem healthy, or at least less harmful. And some scientists and researchers at the highest level are complicit in making this happen. Trade groups give them huge sums and endowments to conduct research.

This practice isn’t some bygone scheme of the past century. Marion Nestle, PhD explains that pay-for-play continues today. “Is it really true that food companies deliberately set out to manipulate research in their favor?” She asks in a companion piece to the JAMA findings. “Yes, it is, and the practice continues.”

Nestle continues: “Food company sponsorship, whether or not intentionally manipulative, undermines public trust in nutrition science, contributes to public confusion about what to eat, and compromises Dietary Guidelines in ways that are not in the best interest of public health.”

It is unlikely that scientists will reject these research requests out of some higher moral calling. We know that the beverage industry and candy industries are continuing to juke the stats to keep their products in the hands of our children. This is particularly nefarious for public health.

Untangling the food research knot

Companies now have to disclose their research funding, but it hasn’t slowed down the perpetuation of these studies.

Organizations like the American Beverage Association (funded by Coca-Cola) compromise public health with their misleading research. In 2015 the New York Times uncovered evidence that Coca-Cola funded research deliberately downplayed soda’s role in childhood obesity. Coke’s response? “We partner with some of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and physical activity.” That sounds an awful lot like the tobacco industry’s official statement in the 1990’s when it was funding research on the harmful effects of smoking.

sugar industry studies
Coca-Cola’s American Beverage Association wants you to believe that sugary drinks are not to blame in skyrocketing childhood obesity rates

At HFR, it is our utmost goal to make the world a healthier place and reduce the spread of childhood obesity. Childhood obesity increases cardiovascular disease, liver problems, and causes a host of other issues. So when cable news picks up a study with a “feel good” headline (Does candy make you skinnier? Find out after the break!) be aware that it probably is too good to be true.

Scientific research on nutrition should be done with only the public’s best interest in mind. It should not be another PR function for multibillion-dollar industries. But things aren’t likely to change anytime soon, so it is up to the individual to stay educated on health studies.

So what can you do to stay informed?

The most important thing you can do is to be very skeptical of any research study headlines. Read the study itself and see where the funding came from. How? Organizations like Health News Review assess the validity of studies in the media, and give lots of useful tips on how to objectively analyze an article.