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Your food safety guide for parties and BBQs

Entertaining at home is a great way to catch up with family and friends, however, cooking for more people than normal can increase the risk of food poisoning.

The average home kitchen/BBQ area is not designed for large volume cooking so we have provided some safety tips to help you maintain good food safety practices and reduce the risk of foodborne illness at your event.

Food safety tips for parties and BBQs


  • Ensure you have enough fridge and freezer space
  • Keep cold foods in the fridge until they are ready to serve e.g. salads

Temperature controls:

  • The bacteria that cause food poisoning grow rapidly between 5°C and 60°C (also known as the temperature danger zone)
  • Hot food should be served steaming hot – at least 60°C
  • Food should be thoroughly cooked before consuming. It is recommended that poultry, minced meats and sausages be cooked until well done right through to the centre. No pink should be visible and the juices should run clear. Alternately, you can use a meat thermometer to check if the meat is properly cooked.
  • Use the 2hr/4hr rule – food that is within the temperature danger zone should be consumed within 2 hours or placed back under temperature controls <5°C or >60°C. Food that has been out between 2 and 4 hours should be consumed immediately or thrown out.

Preventing cross-contamination:

  • Wash and dry hands thoroughly before preparing food (and in between handling raw and cooked foods)
  • Keep raw and cooked food separate – don’t let raw meat juices drip onto other foods
  • Use different knives and cutting boards for raw and cooked foods
  • Ensure that benches, kitchen equipment and tableware are clean and dry
  • Avoid making food for others if you are sick


  • Refrigerate any leftovers straight away
  • Leftovers should be consumed within 3 days
  • Reheat leftover food to at least 75°C or until it is steaming hot

BBQ safety tips:

  • Always keep raw meats cold and don’t leave cooked foods and salads in the sun for more than 2 hours as bacteria multiply quickly in warm to hot temperatures
  • Store uncooked food and ready-to-eat food in separate sealed containers
  • Ensure your esky or freezer bag has enough ice or ice bricks to keep the foods chilled
  • Cook meat until the juices run clear or use a meat thermometer to check the temperature for your BBQ meats (chicken & turkey 74°C, minced meat and sausages 71°C and fish to 63°C)
  • Don’t put cooked meat back on the same plate that contained the raw meat
  • Don’t pour liquid that has been used to marinate raw meat or poultry onto cooked meats
  • If meats cooked on the BBQ are to be consumed later ensure they are kept cold during transportation back home and are immediately refrigerated
  • Avoid making food for others if you are sick and consider postponing your BBQ