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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Food Safety for Summer (Barbecues, picnics, etc.)

With summer, comes barbecues and picnics and all kinds of eating outdoors. It is important to follow safe food handling practices in order to avoid foodborne illness. There are a lot of things to keep in mind when you are preparing for a cookout or picnic. You have to be careful with keeping cold foods cold and cooking food to a proper temperature.


When you’re in the market buying your foods, make sure you refrigerate cold foods immediately upon arriving home, especially if it’s a hot day. If you are buying meat, you should get that last so you can head directly to the checkout quickly. If it’s really hot or you have to transport your groceries some distance, you might want to use a cooler for your cold items, especially meats.


If you are using frozen foods in your meal, be sure to thaw out the food in the refrigerator and not on the counter. If you use a microwave to defrost, make sure you cook the food immediately after thawing. Marinade foods in the refrigerator, also.


When grilling foods, make sure you use clean utensils. Don’t cross-contaminate foods by using plates and/or utensils on cooked food that you used on raw food, especially meat. Juices from raw meat can contaminate the cooked food.


Cook foods thoroughly. It is important to get the food hot enough in order to kill bacteria. When grilling foods such as poultry and meat, the outside tends to get brown very quickly, but the inside takes some time to cook properly. Use a meat thermometer to check for proper cooking temperature.


- Whole poultry: 165 °F

- Poultry breasts: 165 °F

- Ground poultry: 165 °F

- Ground meats: 160 °F

- Beef, pork, lamb, and veal (steaks, roasts and chops): 145 °F and allow to rest at least 3 minutes.

Refrigerate food promptly after eating. If anything has been out longer than 2 hours, throw it away. If it’s hot out, throw it away after one hour of being left out.

For more safe grilling tips, check out these sites:

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