How to stop unwanted barbecue guests putting your health in danger

Barbecue-loving families are urged to give their grills a deep clean to avoid unwanted guests and the threat of serious food poisoning.

Outdoor cooking devices have been gathering dust in sheds and garages as people have been stuck at home during lockdown.

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But now the warmer weather has arrived, barbecue grills are being brought out of their winter quarters to once more scorch burgers and burn sausages.

However, roasted roaches could also be on the menu as the creepy crawlies are big fans of the food scraps and grease left behind when barbecues are packed away.

Disease carriers

Scientific research has shown that cockroaches can carry 33 diseases including salmonella, E.coli, typhoid and dysentery. That could mean serious stomach upsets, diarrhoea and vomiting are served up with ribs and chicken.

As well as dirty barbecues, the mini shelled creatures inhabit moist areas such as drains, bathrooms and sewers where they pick up germs on their legs.

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These are transferred to surfaces, such as drip trays and grills, along with dead skin and droppings - a recipe for spreading illnesses.

Salmonella is found in the faeces of many animals and is picked up by cockroaches due to the filthy environments they favour. It causes stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and fevers.

Kidney failure

E.coli is another bacterial infection that causes similar symptoms, while more serious cases can lead to kidney failure.

Both can lead to complications where bacteria enter the bloodstream with the possibility of life-threatening infections.

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Other diseases known to be spread by cockroaches include typhoid, which can lead to high fevers and is potentially deadly if not treated early with antibiotics.

Dysentery is another feature on the cockroach menu, which is either caused by a parasite or bacteria that leads to an inflammation of the intestine and severe diarrhoea containing blood and mucus.

Dominic Ponniah, chief executive officer of commercial cleaning firm Cleanology, said: "As well as the hygiene factor, deep cleaning your barbecue has a host of other benefits.

“Your food will taste better as it won’t be contaminated by flavours of previous cooking sessions, while the removal of built-up grease means there is less smoke to annoy your neighbours.

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“That also means there is a reduced risk of fire, as a drip tray full of grease and grime can suddenly ignite and cause major problems, especially with dry bushes and plants during the hot summer months.”

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