Since it is National Grilling Month, it is the perfect time to review food safety tips to keep in mind when you are hosting an outdoor BBQ. From food preparation, handling, cooking, and serving, there is an opportunity for foodborne illness to be spread if the proper precautions aren’t taken.
- Wash hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water before, during, and after food prep
- Wash all utensils, cutting boards, and countertops after use plus the grill before and after cooking
- Keep cooked and ready-to-eat foods like fruit, vegetables, salads, and breads separate from raw meat and poultry
- Use separate coolers for different food items (example: create one for drinks, one for raw meats and seafood, and one for cooked food and raw produce)
- Have these go-to grilling tools on hand prior to cooking: moist towelettes, trash bags, hand sanitizer, paper towels, soap, extra plates and utensils, food thermometer
- Have a clean platter and utensils ready at grill-side for serving the cooked food
- Throw out marinades and sauces that have touched raw meat juices
- Cook to a safe minimum internal temperature and always use a food thermometer to check the true temperature
- Whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and fish – internal temperature of 145oF
- Hamburgers and other ground meat – internal temperature of 160oF
- All poultry and pre-cooked meats like hot dogs – internal temperature of 165oF
- Reheating leftovers – internal temperature of 165oF or until hot and steaming
- Follow the 2 hour rule: Don’t let perishables sit out for longer than 2 hours (**or 1 hour if greater than 90oF outside)
- Avoid the DANGER ZONE – germs thrive in the lukewarm temperatures between 40oF and 140oF
- Keep cold food cold – at or below 40oF by placing food in a cooler filled with ice or frozen gel packs until just before serving
- Keep hot food hot – at or above 140oF by using crockpots, warming trays, chafing dishes with portable burners, or steam tables
Take Home Message
Practice proper preparation, cooking, and clean-up, so that you can enjoy the warmer temperatures and have a safe grilling season!
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