ENVIRONMENTAL health workers have joined forces with a radio station to launch a barbecue safety campaign.

To coincide with National Food Safety Week, which starts today, Sunderland City Council's environmental heal-th officers and Century FM Radio are giving tips on safe barbecue cooking.

They are distributing leaf-lets to meat retailers throughout Sunderland with titles such as Respect Your Meat and Celebrate the Summer Safely. The leaflets include tips, such as:

* always wash your hands before preparing food;

* thoroughly defrost frozen meat and poultry;

* keep cooked and raw meat separate;

* cook all meat thoroughly until the juices run clear;

* do not handle cooked foods with utensils that have touched raw meats;

* never put cooked food on a plate or surface that has been used for raw meat without washing it;

* always cover food.

Norma Johnston, city environmental health officer, said: "This campaign will help spread the food safety message to the public and complements the campaign organised by the Food Stand- ards Agency, which has set a target of reducing food-borne disease in the UK by 20 per cent by 2006."