Advice: outdoor events

What’s cooking? When offering food or entertainment, at an outdoor event this summer, remember – safety first!

Summer 2016 Advice: outdoor events It’s going to be a summer of sport, with football’s European Championship in France in June and July, and the Rio Olympic Games in August. If you are thinking of making the most of the summer weather by holding either a barbecue, or some other event, here are some tips to ensure everybody has a safe and happy time. First, 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, and restrict access to the cooking area and hot surfaces. RoSPA has compiled a comprehensive list to help you have a fun – and accidentfree – event. Cooking meat on a barbecue You need to think about the risks of cooking on a barbecue. The two main concerns are undercooking meat, and spreading germs from raw meat onto food that is ready to eat. This is because raw or undercooked meat can contain germs – such as salmonella, E. coli and campylobacter – that cause food poisoning. However, these germs can be killed by cooking meat until it is piping hot throughout. All staff involved in the preparation or serving of food should be adequately trained. When you are cooking any kind of meat on a barbecue – including 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 they are hot enough to cook food thoroughly. Ensure that frozen meat is thawed properly before you cook it, and that you turn meat regularly and move it around the barbecue to cook it evenly. Remember that meat is safe to eat only when: l It is piping hot in the centre l There is no pink meat visible l Any juices are clear Don’t assume that because meat is charred on the outside it will be cooked properly on the inside. Cut the meat at the thickest part and ensure none of it is pink on the inside. Food made from minced meat, such as sausages and burgers, must be cooked thoroughly all the way through. Raw meat 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: l Always wash your hands after touching raw meat l Use separate utensils, plates and containers for cooked and raw meat l Never put cooked food on a plate or surface that has had raw meat on it l Keep raw meat in a sealed container away from foods that are ready to eat, such as salads and buns l Don’t put raw meat next to cooked, or partly cooked, meat on the barbecue l Don’t put sauce or marinade on cooked food if it has already been used with raw meat Keeping food cool It is also important to keep some foods cool to prevent food-poisoning germs from multiplying. Foods that need to be kept cool include: salads; dips; milk, cream and yoghurt; desserts and cream cakes; sandwiches; ham and other cooked meats; and 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. Hog roasts If you are thinking of hiring a caterer to do a hog roast, check that they are registered with a local authority and, if they are, what their food-hygiene rating score is. Find out whether all their employees are suitably trained in food hygiene and ensure that you are clear with the caterer about who is responsible for what. You will also want to establish how much room they will need, and whether they will need access to electricity. Other factors to consider in advance is how access to the cooking area will be restricted, what the arrangements for any left-over food are, how it will be stored and for how long. Bouncy castles Before deciding which firm to hire a bouncy castle from, ask them for detailed guidelines about how they operate. These should include how they identify an appropriate site for the castle and how inflation and mooring of the castle will work. Stakes should be at least a foot long – if it can’t be staked, don’t hire it! Any hard ground at the open side will need to be cushioned and there should be protection from electrical equipment. There are also considerations around the number and ages of the children who are allowed to use the bouncy castle at any one time – consider implementing a rota system that avoids the mixing of different ages or sizes. A responsible adult should supervise and manage children at all times while the bouncy castle is being used. Adults and children should not be on bouncy castles together and over-18s should only use bouncy castles made specifically for adult size and weight. If adults are going to be using the bouncy castle, be aware that a mixture of alcohol and bouncy castles can be dangerous. There will need to be rules about appropriate behaviour – children should not climb on walls, attempt acrobatics (for example, somersaults) or take food or drink onto the inflatable. Before you hire a bouncy castle, check whether it looks well maintained and plan for what you will do in the event of wet or windy weather. Extra insurance cover may be necessary if you hire a bouncy castle. For a full list of advice, visit RoSPA’s website and the Play Action Guide. Licensing issues Certain businesses, organisations and individuals that want to offer entertainment may require a licence or other authorisation from their local council. These might include nightclubs, live music venues, cinemas, larger theatres, larger street and open-air festivals, and larger indoor sporting arenas. A Temporary Events Notice would be required for alcohol sales at unlicensed premises, or where a licensed premises wanted to sell alcohol from a temporary bar sited in an area not authorised by their premises licence. Areas such as beer gardens and car parks are commonly unlicensed, so should only be used for the consumption – and not the sale – of alcohol unless restricted even further by way of condition. Further detailed guidance about whether you require a licence can be obtained at Being a good neighbour If your venue is in a residential area, it’s a good idea to consider what effect the event will have on your neighbours. Barbecues are fun, but the cooking odours can be unpleasant. Try to site your barbecue as far away as possible from neighbours to avoid smoke and fumes drifting into their homes. If you have a party, warn your neighbours in advance and consider inviting them. Keep windows and doors shut and, if someone complains, turn down the volume of the music. Similarly, if you are using a beer garden or a similar outside venue for your party, make sure the music source is inside with the volume turned down. Here are some other tips to help maintain good neighbourly relations: l Don’t have music outside l Finish at a reasonable hour or move the event inside l Let your neighbours and guests know in advance what time the event will finish l Keep the number of outdoor events to a minimum l Keep an eye on your guests’ alcohol consumption; as well as other risks caused by drinking beyond responsible limits, behavioural changes often lead to voices rising in volume, which can cause disturbances l If your guests are arriving by car, make sure that they park safely and with consideration for neighbours By following these simple guidelines, you can keep your guests and your staff safe from harm, while enjoying an outdoor event this summer. All you need now is some sunny weather. Credit: Bob Charnley stockcreations / shutterstock Food safety – it’s in your hands: a national advert created by The Food Standards Agency The Food Standards Agency’s national advert during the FIFA World Cup in 2006 A mixture of alcohol and bouncy castles can be dangerous Don’t assume that because meat is charred on the outside it will be cooked properly on the inside What’s cooking? When offering food or entertainment, at an outdoor event this summer, remember – safety first! For further information please contact your local Trading Standards Service Advice: outdoor events Video to blow up to this size Video to blow up to this size Summer 2016 Advice: outdoor events Summer 2016 Advice: outdoor events What’s cooking? When offering food, or other entertainment, at an outdoor event this summer, remember – safety first!