From picnics to campfires, summer is the perfect time to enjoy a meal outdoors. Ensure your meal is as safe as it is tasty with these grilling and food safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Use separate bags for meat, poultry and seafood and take home in an insulated shopping bag. Refrigerate within two hours of purchase. Keep meats and dairy away from produce and dry goods to avoid cross-contamination, and clean and properly store your reusable shopping bags.
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after handling meat, poultry and seafood. Using a moist towel or work rag, clean the grill surface before adding food items or use stiff wire grill brush to dislodge food residue. After the meal, clean the grill, work surfaces and cooking utensils.
Keep it cool
Refrigerate right away and keep meat, poultry and seafood at or below 40° F until ready to cook. Use an insulated cooler if transporting items to another location. Store pasta and potato salads in the fridge or cooler until ready to serve, and leave out no longer than two hours (one hour if the outdoor temperature is higher than 90° F).
Avoid spreading bacteria from one food item to another by using separate utensils and cutting boards for raw and cooked foods, or wash well with soap and warm water between uses. Throw away any leftover marinades and use a clean plate to retrieve cooked items from the grill.
Turn up the heat
Use a meat thermometer to ensure a safe cooking temperature for meat, poultry and seafood. Cook meats to these temperatures and serve right away.
Whole cuts of meat, pork and lamb: 140° F
Fish: 145° F
Hamburgers: 160° F
Poultry and hot dogs: 165° F
Don’t hover over the grill
Research shows that the smoke from an outdoor grill can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin, increasing the risk of certain types of cancer. Set a timer and walk away between grill checks. Point the grill so that smoke moves away from people, especially young children, older adults and those with asthma or pulmonary disease.
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