In a moment of rampant occupational health and safety overreach, on Tuesday it was revealed Bunnings sent a suggestion to charity groups running sausage sizzles. One that has the potential to shred the very fabric of Australian society: place the onion beneath the sausage.

The hardware megastore suggested the current snag and bread construction (meat tube topped with onions) creates a potential slipping hazard – the onions can all too easily fall on the ground.

“This recommendation is provided to the community groups within their fundraising sausage sizzle welcome pack and is on display within the gazebos when barbeques are underway,” a Bunnings spokesperson said in a statement. “Regardless of how you like your onion and snag, we are confident this new serving suggestion will not impact the delicious taste or great feeling you get when supporting your local community group.”

Social media is alight with snag fans either defending the decision – claiming a higher proportion of onion will now end up in the mouth – or despairing at the red tape now enveloping their bangers; tape some say is symptomatic of an overly cautious regulatory culture. To settle the saga, Broadsheet asked the experts.

Chris Terlikar is pitmaster at killer Melbourne barbeque spot Bluebonnet. He reckons onions on top is the only way to go, and that serving size is a bigger problem than safety.

“Cut them in rings,” Terlikar says. “They’d all link together instead of having all these tiny little sliced onions … it’s the only solution.

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“You want to see the onions, you want to see how much you’ve got on there.”

Joe "Chewba" Siahaan, chef at Sydney’s Bar Ume, knows his way around a grill. He’s been flipping Japanese-influenced burgers since 2016, but also has a side-hustle whipping up Ume Dogs.

“[The opposition] is underestimating the construction of a hot dog, which a lot of people do. From a constructionist point of view, if you put the onions down at the bottom the bread’s going to get soggy,” says Siahaan. “They’re purveyors of construction equipment and building materials so they should understand this.”

It’s unknown at this stage if Bunnings has tested which sausage ingredient poses a bigger risk. Tomato sauce and mustard are also slippery and a stray snag could roll underfoot. The danger is akin to stepping on a detached broom handle.

“You’ve got to address safety issues directly,” says Siahaan. “They’re going to encounter exactly the same issues with the sauce, and then what are they going to do? Place the sauce and the mustard underneath the sausage too and make this monster Frankenstein hot dog? That doesn’t taste good either.”

The debate continues.