Sausage Sizzle Safety Tips

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When planning your fundraising barbie there’s a tiny bit more to think about than just how many snags to order and whether to offer sauce AND mustard (for fancy customers) or just sauce (the true Aussie way). Safety is paramount if you want to protect the public, yourselves and your profits. Follow these sausage sizzle safety tips and she’ll be right!

KEEPING IT HYGIENIC

Food Standards Australia New Zealand outline a set of sensible procedures to keep your food safe for public consumption. Most of what they say is common sense but it does pay to know the letter of the law and make sure you’re following good food hygiene practices. It would be a pretty bad look for your club to give half the punters food poisoning. To ensure safe food service you should:

– Have a way of keeping raw foods cool. You probably won’t have access to a fridge so pack raw meat in eskies and have a replaceable supply of ice bricks.

– Keep raw meat completely separate from cooked. Use separate tongs and tools for putting raw meat on the grill and handling cooked meat (a little spray paint or insulation tape can create a clever color coding system). Never put your cooked snags back into containers or trays that raw products were in.

– Clean and sanitise the barbie before you start.

– Cook sausages till the juices run clear. If using a skewer to check, clean it between uses.

– Keep all food covered: we can’t deny that there are one or two flies in Australia. Tin foil is pretty handy for covering cooked sausages and keeping them free of contamination if there’s a lull in your sales.

– Wash hands regularly using warm, running water and antibacterial soap. You may be granted an exemption if running water is not available, in which case you’ll need high-grade sanitising gel or wipes. If there are kids helping, pay particular attention to whether they wash their hands after visits to the loo, eating or handling money.

– Be as hands free as possible. Use utensils to handle meat. Wear disposable latex gloves for constructing the sausage sizzles, adding the sauce and serving the customers.

– Make sure that the person who handles money never touches food. It’s really gross when you start to think about how many hands and how many back pockets and down the back of how many couches a two dollar coin has been. Change the gloves regularly.

-Throw away any unused food.

In addition to following these general precautions, make sure you understand the nitty gritty of your state’s food safety laws. There are different requirements for temporary food service outlets that are specific to the state governments.

PHYSICAL SAFETY

As well as ensuring public safety through good hygiene practices, you need to protect your own physical safety. Some of the considerations you should make are:

Burns

You are working with naked flame and hot grills: burns are a risk for even the most experienced sausage sizzler. Protect yourself by using long-armed BBQ tools and dressing in clothing which won’t dangle over the barbie. In the event of a burn, Australia Wide First Aid advises: removing any jewelry and clothing (NOT if clothing is stuck to the burned area), cooling the burn in running water for at least twenty minutes, elevating the limb to prevent swelling and applying a hydrogel product. You need to seek immediate medical attention (call 000) if the burn covers more than 10% of the body’s surface area. Burns to the face, hands or major joints also need to be taken seriously: if in doubt call for help. In no circumstance should ice be applied to any type of burn.

Dehydration

This is a very real possibility when working over a grill for hours in the hot sun. A sipper bottle with cold fresh water, a shaded area and a roster which allows for regular rests are absolute musts.

Sunburn

We can no longer take UV rays lightly: sunburn is a massive risk in Australia and you don’t want to end up sizzling like your snags. The old “Slip, Slop, Slap and Seek” mantra is a pretty good one to follow. Have plenty of sunscreen on hand (wash your hands carefully after applying: sauce is nice on sausages, sunscreen is not). Arrange a large gazebo to cover your BBQ area.

Fire Safety

There are fire risks associated with sausage sizzles and you need to protect yourself, and our environment, from these. Make sure the gas bottle for your barbie has been checked and certificated. Ensure that it is correctly attached and can’t be tipped over. If your BBQ is out in nature (i.e. not in the Bunnings Car park) set up in an area away from trees and where there are no dry leaves or debris that could catch fire. Have plenty of water and a fire extinguisher available in case the worst should happen. Check with your state authorities whether you need a permit to run a public BBQ and what the specific fire safety requirements are.

First Aid

There’s likely to be someone in your club (or maybe you’ve got a mate?) who has their First Aid Certificate. Enlist their help, even if it’s just to sit in a director’s chair and be the Designated Safety Officer. Have a well stocked first aid kit which includes hydrogel. It kind of goes without saying these days but have a cell phone on hand so you can call 000 if you need to.

PROTECTING YOUR PROFITS

We like to think that all Australians are good, honest people and that no-one would steal from a community fundraising effort. Unfortunately, there are desperate people and opportunists out there and you need to protect your profits. If you’re fundraising for a junior team and have kids manning the service area, make sure there’s an adult hovering near the cash-box. Try not to keep more than $100 cash in your float at any time: have a lockable box inside the (locked) boot of your car and empty the float regularly.

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