Warm weather ushers in the grilling season and those wonderful get togethers with family and friends. Grilling season also comes with the potential for foodborne illnesses. Prevention and preparation are key to keeping you and your love ones safe from illness. When getting started, remember to follow all the tips below to keep everyone safe from foodborne illness.
Begin with a clean work space and wash hands prior to beginning. Hands should be washed for 20 seconds under clean running water. Remember, if you are suffering from allergies and sneeze or cough, be certain you are covering your mouth and wash your hands immediately to prevent the spreading of germs. Also, check your hands for any small cuts that may need to be covered or put on disposable gloves to prevent the contamination of food. Always wash hands after touching raw meats, seafood, playing with pets or using the rest room.
Once you are ready to start your meal preparation, these simple rules always apply. Thawing of frozen meats in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40 degrees is best. Never thaw meat on the counter top. If time does not permit thawing in the refrigerator, you can thaw meat, sealed in air tight packaging in the sink using cold water (70 degrees) with the water being changed frequently to maintain the coolness and the meat product cooked immediately after thawing. Do not wash your raw meat prior to cooking as this can spread contaminates to other work areas. Be cautious to keep meat and meat juices separated from your fruits and vegetables to prevent cross contamination. Always have a separate cutting board for meats and fruits and vegetables. Wash fruits and vegetables under cool running water and gently brushing to remove dirt and contaminates. If there is bruising to a hard fruit or vegetable such as a potato, be certain to cut away the damaged area. If there is bruising to a soft fruit or vegetable such as a plum, throw the item away.
While grilling your foods, keep the meat on a separate lower rack to prevent juices from reaching your vegetables on the grill. Cooking vegetables wrapped in aluminum foil can provide additional protection. Use separate utensils for meats and vegetables while cooking them. Always check the temperature of the meat using a clean meat thermometer to ensure it is cooked thoroughly. Beef, pork, veal and lamb should reach a minimum of 145 degrees. All ground meats should reach a minimum of 160 degrees and poultry should reach minimum of 165 degrees. Clean the thermometer between uses with soap and water. Always use clean dishes to place cooked items on when removing them from the grill.
Grilling season is a wonderful time of the year to engage in fellowship with friends and family. Just be certain to follow food safety guidelines to ensure it is always a good time.