WARM weather is an invitation to fire up the garden grill – but nothing ruins sunny weather like having food poisoning.

The common illness, which is caused by bacteria or other toxins hidden in contaminated food, can cause sudden onset nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

The UK suffers over a million cases of food poisoning a year according to the Food Standards Agency, and around 280,000 cases are caused by a bacteria called campylobacter.

Here are a few preventative tips for staying safe in the sun.

Wash your hands

Before handling any food, make sure you clean your hands with antibacterial soap and water, and pat them dry with a towel.

Each time you handle raw food – such as meat, fish or eggs – you should always re-wash hands. The same goes for touching the bin, going to the toilet or handling pets.

Give worktops a good wipe

The NHS advises wiping any surfaces you plan to use with either antibacterial spray or hot, soapy water, as well as washing knives, chopping boards and other utensils before use.

Use separate chopping boards

One of the easiest ways of spreading the most common food-borne bacteria is through cross-contamination. Use different chopping boards and knives for preparing raw meats and assembling ready-to-eat dishes like salads.

Keep raw meat separate

NHS advice says it’s especially important to keep raw meats, like chicken, pork and beef, away from ready-to-eat foods, such as salad, fruit and veg. This is because these foods won’t be cooked before you eat them, so any bacteria that manages to find its way on to them won’t be killed.

It’s wise to have a separate shelf on the fridge for raw meats.

Cook food thoroughly on the barbecue

Heat kills bacteria, so meat needs to be thoroughly cooked through on the grill.

Turn your meats regularly and check they’re ready by cutting into them – they should not be pink in the middle and the juices should run clear. If you’re still not sure, you can use a meat probe thermometer to check the temperature.

It’s a good idea to cook chicken in the oven prior to giving it a final grill on your barbecue.