Fire Up the Grill — But Keep Foods Safe!

The following is an archived post

It’s BBQ season! With great, grilled food comes great responsibility. This time of year can be rife with cases of food poisoning as families and friends prepare food outdoors in hot weather and with minimal access to sinks and other supplies.

Check out some of these tips for safe grilling!

Keep It Clean

* Before you fire up, scrub down the grill, all outdoor utensils, coolers and other containers with hot, soapy water.

* Always wash utensils in warm, soapy water between uses.

* Figure out a hand washing strategy so that you can wash your hands before, during and after handling foods outside. The best way to wash your hands is in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.

Separate to Prevent Cross-Contamination

* Use one set of plates and utensils to handle raw foods and another set for cooked foods. Cross-contamination is the top food safety concern during the outdoor grilling season.

* When preparing favorites like hamburgers, steaks and chicken, remember that using the same brush to baste both raw and cooked meats can be very dangerous. Always use a separate or clean brush to marinate raw and cooked meats, and remember to boil any leftover marinade before using it to season cooked meats.

Temps and Timing are Key

* A food thermometer is the only way to ensure food has been cooked to the proper temperature. Relying on color, firmness or waiting for the juices to run clear are common mistakes.

* Stock coolers with plenty of ice and/or ice packs and a refrigerator thermometer to make sure foods are stored below 40°F. Don’t let foods stay unrefrigerated for more than two hours, or one hour in hot weather (90°F or above).

Suggestion: set an alarm on your cell phone for a reminder to refrigerate food.

Help Wanted

Grillmasters need may need grillmaster assistants to ensure safe, summer grilling! Ask a family member or friend to put on a silly apron and help!

Some tips adapted from American Dietetic Association food safety content


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