Grilling out on a sunny summer weekend is an American tradition. But did you know that foodborne illness peaks during the warm summer months? The USDA reports that cooking out at picnics, barbecues, and camping trips is to blame. Without proper refrigeration and washing facilities, people are more likely to be hit with “food poisoning.”
Here are eight simple tips to help you have a grill-safe summer:
- When shopping, put your meat and poultry in a plastic bag so it doesn’t drip onto and contaminate your other food.
- Be sure to make the meat department the last stop of your shopping trip.
- Place meat and poultry in the fridge immediately when you get home.
- Never thaw frozen meat on the counter top. Defrost in the fridge, or use the microwave and then immediately cook it on the grill.
- Marinate your meat and poultry chilled in the fridge for up to two days. If using the marinade as a sauce on cooked food, be sure to reserve a portion of the marinade before putting the raw meat and poultry in it.
- Use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Do not place cooked meat and poultry from the grill on the same plate that you used before cooking.
- Cook meat and poultry thoroughly and use a meat thermometer to check for a safe internal temperature of approximately 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Put leftovers in the fridge promptly and be sure to toss anything that has been left out for more than 90 minutes.