Grilling can be one of life’s simple pleasures. Unfortunately, where there is fun there is also the potential for safety issues. Here are some Food Safety tips and tricks to keep in mind this summer.
From the Store to the Freezer/Refrigerator - When shopping, buy cold food like meat and poultry last, right before checkout. To guard against cross-contamination — which can happen when raw meat or poultry juices drip on other food — put packages of raw meat and poultry into plastic bags and keep it separate from other food in your shopping cart.
Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours (within 1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F). Poultry and ground meat that won't be used in 1 or 2 days should be frozen; freeze other meat within 4 to 5 days.
Thaw Safely - Completely thaw meat and poultry before grilling so it cooks more evenly. Use the refrigerator for slow, safe thawing or thaw sealed packages in cold water. For quicker thawing, you can microwave defrost if the food will be placed immediately on the grill. Marinating Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Poultry and cubed meat or stew meat can be marinated up to 2 days. Beef, veal, pork, and lamb roasts, chops, and steaks may be marinated up to 5 days. Keep Everything Clean To prevent foodborne illness, don't use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Harmful bacteria present in raw meat and poultry and their juices can contaminate safely cooked food.
Precooking - Pre-cooking food partially in the microwave, oven, or stove is a good way of reducing grilling time. Just make sure that the food goes immediately on the preheated grill to complete cooking.
Cook Thoroughly - Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often browns very fast on the outside. NEVER partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later. In hot weather (above 90 °F), food should never sit out for more than 1 hour.
- Meats - Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source.
- Ground Meats- Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
- Poultry - Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
Leftovers - Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers. Discard any food left out more than 2 hours (1 hour if temperatures are above 90 °F).