Sausage sizzles and barbecues are a popular way to raise money for charities and community organisations. They are often held outdoors to take advantage of Australia's good weather and open spaces.
Provided you take some simple food safety precautions and sell freshly cooked food straight from the barbecue, the food should be safe.
Preparing and cooking food safely
Take the following precautions at sausage sizzles and barbecues to ensure that food is safe.
- Finish preparing raw meat before leaving for the site such as slicing, marinating or skewering.
- Pack raw meat into insulated boxes with ice bricks for transportation.
- Handle food with tongs or other equipment. Use separate equipment to handle raw and cooked meats. Hands should not be used unless absolutely necessary, and then handwashing facilities must be available. Hands must be washed after handling raw meats.
- Keep cooked meat and salads separate from raw meat at all times to prevent contamination.
- Cover food to protect it from contamination.
- Use clean and dry utensils for serving the food - never place cooked meat back on the trays that held the raw meat.
- Cook chicken, sausages and hamburgers thoroughly, to an internal temperature of 75oC - check the temperature with a food thermometer. Steaks can be cooked to preference.
- Throw left-over food away unless refrigeration equipment is available to rapidly cool the food.
Wherever possible, single-use (disposable) utensils such as knives, forks, plates and cups should be used and thrown away after use. These items should be kept covered until needed and should be handled carefully to minimise any risk of contamination. Re-useable items such as mugs should not be used unless there are facilities available on-site to wash and sanitise them, or there are enough items for the duration of the event.
If water is needed for hand washing or for washing up, a supply adequate to last the event must be provided. The water must be of drinkable quality. If using containers to transport water to the event, make sure they are clean and have not been used to store chemicals.
If you do not have access to hot water for washing up, make sure you take enough utensils so you can use separate utensils for the raw and the cooked food at the event.
Unless you have a written exemption from your local council or health authority, food handlers must wash their hands with warm running water. An exemption is only likely to be issued where enough water is not available for handwashing. In such circumstances the local council or health authority may permit the use of alternatives such as cleaning creams or gels, or sanitising wipes.
If you have access to water, you should set up a temporary handwashing facility that provides running water. You can do this by using a large water container with a tap at its base. Another container, such as a bucket, should collect the waste water, to keep the site dry and clean.
A supply of soap and paper towels must be provided at the handwashing facility so food handlers can wash and dry their hands properly. Supply a bin for used towels. This helps to keep the site tidy and prevents contamination from used towels.