Grilling and Summer Go Hand-in-Hand
It wouldn’t be summer without cooking out on the grill, but FodSafety.gov says that foodborne illnesses increase during the summer due to factors like the warmer weather.
When planning a picnic, or barbecue, stay healthy while enjoying the outdoors by following these food safety recommendations from FoodSafety.gov:
When bringing food to a picnic or cookout:
- Use an insulated cooler filled with ice or frozen gel packs. You can also use frozen food as a cold source.
- Foods that need to be kept cold include raw meat, poultry, and seafood; deli and luncheon meats or sandwiches; summer salads (tuna, chicken, egg, pasta, or seafood); cut up fruit and vegetables; and perishable dairy products.
- Keep your cooler out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter. Remember that a full cooler will maintain its cold temperature longer than a partially filled one.
- To keep your food cold longer, avoid opening the cooler repeatedly.
When cooking on the grill:
- Prevent cross-contamination from raw meat or poultry juices by washing counter tops and sinks with hot, soapy water. Wash hands after handling raw meat or poultry or its packaging because anything you touch afterward could become contaminated.
- Keep perishable food cold until it is ready to cook.
- Use a food thermometer to make sure meat and poultry are cooked thoroughly to their safe minimum internal temperatures.
- Always use a fresh, clean plate and tongs for serving cooked food. Never reuse items that touched raw meat or poultry to serve cooked food.
When serving food outdoors:
- Do not sit perishable food out for more than two hours. In hot weather (above 90 °F), food should NEVER sit out for more than one hour. This is when bacteria in food can multiply rapidly, and lead to foodborne illness.
- Serve cold food in small portions, and keep the rest in the cooler.
- After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served – at 140°F or warmer.
- Keep hot food hot by setting it to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook.
For more information, visit the federal food safety site.