Fourth of July is a great time to fire up the grill, but did you know the summer months typically see a spike in foodborne illness? Make sure the fun in the sun doesn’t get spoiled by food poisoning.
Here are some simple steps to grilling food safely from the county’s Health Department.
- Keep cold food cold. Meat and poultry should be refrigerated until ready to use. When using a cooler, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter and avoid opening the lid too often.
- Use a food thermometer to ensure that food reaches a safe internal temperature. Cook chicken to 165F and ground beef to 160F. You cannot judge “done” by how the food looks.
- Keep hot food hot. After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served (at 140°F or warmer.) Use a meat thermometer to check temperatures.
- 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 defrost in the microwave if the food will be placed immediately on the grill.
- Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Do not use the marinade for the raw food as the sauce for the cooked food. Keep a fresh portion aside for the sauce.
- Don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Harmful bacteria present in raw meat and their juices can contaminate safely cooked food.
- Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers. Discard any food left out more than 2 hours (1 hour if temperatures are above 90 °F).
Posted at 2:30 p.m.
any of us will gather around the television on Sunday to watch the big game. And more than likely we’ll have lots of food and beverages to enjoy the action between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.
But there are several things you need to remember to ensure that you, your family and any friends you’ve invited over for a game party stay safe with any food that you’re serving.
If you’re having chicken wings — a football fan’s favorite — take a temperature of your wings and place them on a clean plate covered in paper toweling. Use a clean food thermometer to check the internal temperature; for food safety the temp should be 165°F. You should measure several wings before you finish cooking each batch. Another option, of course, is just buy a platter of wings from your favorite restaurant.
For this weekend’s game, or any time you’re in the kitchen, remember these four simple steps: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.
Most importantly, make sure to keep hot food hot and cold food cold.
- Hot foods must have a heat source to keep them at or warmer than 140°F.
- Cold foods should be kept on ice to remain at a safe temperature at or below 40°F.
- Perishable foods left out longer than two hours should be discarded and replenished with fresh servings.
For more on food safety — and what it means to clean, separate, cook and chill — watch this video with Ron Campbell from the Health Department.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds to avoid spreading bacteria to your towels.
- Never reuse paper towels. This product is for single use only. When used multiple times, bacteria can find their way onto the towel and hitch a ride around the kitchen.
- Kitchen towels build up bacteria after multiple uses. To keep the bacteria from getting the upper hand, you should wash your kitchen towels frequently in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
Enjoy the game and the food — and stay safe!