Barbecue Season Food Safety
The season for outdoor barbecues and picnics is here, but keep in mind that food-related illness can put a damper on those outdoor events. CDC estimates that 76 million Americans get sick from food-related illness every year. More than 300,000 end up hospitalized and about 5,000 die each year from foodborne illness. When grilling out or preparing food for a picnic always remember:
- Cook meat, poultry and seafood thoroughly. Use a meat thermometer to be sure your grilled meats are “done.” Ground beef, for example, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Poultry like chicken and turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Whole muscle meats of beef, lamb, veal, pork or fish (roasts, steaks, chops and fillets) to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Don’t cross-contaminate one food with another. Wash your hands, utensils and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry and before they touch another food;
- Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature, so refrigerate leftover foods promptly; Try to maintain cold food colder than 41 degrees Fahrenheit and hot food warmer than 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash produce thoroughly to remove visible dirt, and discard the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage.
- Always remember to wash your hands before working with food or food equipment, but if you are not able to wash your hands, use an approved hand sanitizer with at least 70 % ethyl alcohol active ingredient.
Tim Haak, RS