Did you know that food poisoning peaks in the summer months due to warmer temperatures causing foodborne germs to spread? Memorial Day Weekend is right around the corner. Avoid food poisoning by taking the necessary precautions when grilling. Follow these steps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure you are cooking the healthy way:
- Separate meat, poultry, and seafood in your shopping cart and grocery bags to guard against cross-contamination. Put packages of raw meat and poultry into individual plastic bags.
- Keep meat, poultry, and seafood refrigerated until ready to grill. When transporting, keep below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in an insulated cooler.
- 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.
- Clean your grill and tools. Use a moist cloth to clean the surface before cooking.
- When using marinades and sauces that have touched raw meat, pour out any residual juices. Those juices can spread germs to cooked foods. Use clean utensils and a clean plate to remove cooked meat from the grill.
- Use a food thermometer to ensure meat is cooked hot enough to kill harmful germs. When smoking, keep temperatures inside the smoker at 225°F to 300°F to keep meat a safe temperature while it cooks.
- 145°F – whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal (stand-time of 3 minutes at this temperature)
- 145°F – fish
- 160°F – hamburgers and other ground beef
- 165°F – all poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs
- Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours of cooking (one hour if above 90°F outside).
For more food safety information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/bbq-iq.html