What’s one way to ruin a perfect cookout? Yep, food poisoning. Cases of food poisoning spike in the summer, with Campylobacter and Salmonella the most common and persistent germs that cause illness. Home cooks can keep themselves and their families healthy by following a few important safe food handling practices at home. Here are some tips for safe home grilling.
“Doing these things consistently can mean the difference between good health and serious foodborne illness,” said Shelley Feist, executive director of the non-profit Partnership for Food Safety Education. “The food safety basics of clean, separate, cook and chill do reduce the risk of illness from harmful germs like Campylobacter and Salmonella.”
Families are reminded to follow these safe food preparation steps at home:
- Not just the grill master, but everyone at the gathering should wash their hands with soap and water before and after handling food.
- Always use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of grilled meat and poultry. Print this temperature chart for your refrigerator.
- Keep your cooler filled with ice, so picnic perishable foods stay chilled to 40 °F.
- Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry or seafood. Be sure to have plenty of clean utensils and platters on hand.
Don’t Cross-contaminate- throw out marinades and sauces that have touched raw meat juices, which can spread germs to cooked foods. Use clean utensils and a clean plate to remove cooked meat from the grill.
Clean- Wash your hands with soap before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Wash work surfaces, utensils, and the grill before and after cooking.
Check Your Grill and Tools- Use a moist cloth or paper towel to clean the grill surface before cooking. If you use a wire bristle brush, thoroughly inspect the grill’s surface before cooking. Wire bristles from grill cleaning brushes may dislodge and stick into food on the grill.
To Fight BAC!® (harmful bacteria) at your cookout, follow grilling safety tips and use a food thermometer. With July 4 just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to share these tips to prevent food poisoning.