PEOPLE deciding to have a barbecue before the summer ends are being warned to stay safe.

If you’re aiming to round off a sensational summer with a barbecue in the garden or park, South Somerset District Council and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have served up some advice to help make it a sizzling and safe success.

Cases of food poisoning almost double during the summer and research shows that the undercooking of raw meat and the contamination of bacteria onto the food we eat are among the main reasons.

Cllr Peter Seib, who looks after the council’s environmental health matters, said: “There is nothing more embarrassing than serving up part-cooked burgers or giving your mother-in-law a dose of food poisoning.

“We all want to protect the health of our family and friends, and the FSA’s simple advice shows how we can prepare food safely in advance and cut the risk of spreading those barbecue bugs.”

Tips include: n Pre-cook the meat or poultry in the oven first and then finish it off on the barbecue for flavour.

n Charred doesn’t mean cooked make sure that burgers, sausages, chicken and all meats are properly cooked by cutting into the meat and checking that it is steaming hot all the way through, that none of it is pink and that any juices run clear.

n Disposable barbecues take longer always check that your meat is cooked right through.

n Avoid cross-contamination by storing raw meat separately before cooking, use different utensils, plates and chopping boards for raw and cooked food.

n Don’t wash raw chicken or other meat, it just splashes germs.

For more on food safety, visit the council’s website