Nothing says summer like a backyard barbeque. But, before you fire up the grill, make sure you’re taking the proper precautions to avoid foodborne illnesses.
Always be careful to avoid cross-contamination. Keep meat and poultry separated from raw foods like fruits and vegetables. Use clean utensils and a clean plate for cooked items. And keep refrigerated foods cold until it’s time to begin grilling.
Follow these five simple food-safety steps to help keep your guests safe from illness.
- Chill: Marinate foods in the refrigerator and throw the marinade out once it has been used. Keep foods that will be grilled in the refrigerator until you are ready to begin grilling.
- Clean: Wash your hands after handling raw meat, poultry and seafood; clean utensils and work surfaces before and after cooking.
- Check: Inspect your grill and tools, use a moist cloth or paper towel to wipe the surface of the grill before you begin. If you do use a wire brush to clean your grill, remember that those bristles can dislodge and stick to the cooked food! stick into food on the grill.
Cook: Use a food thermometer to determine the correct internal temperature, don’t rely on a visual to see if food is cooked thoroughly. When grilling, cook to:
- 145 degrees Fahrenheit—whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal (then allow the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating)
- 145 degrees—fish (or cook until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork)
- 160 degrees—hamburgers and other ground beef
- 165 degrees—all poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs
- Refrigerate: Place your leftovers in the refrigerator within one hour if the outside temperature is 90 degrees or above, and within two hours if food is in an air-controlled environment.
For more information, visit the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Making food safety a top of priority protects you, your friends, and family. Remember, it may seem like common sense, but these steps can make all the difference in preventing foodborne illnesses. Your guests will thank you!