Safe grilling tips

Avoid foodborne illness risks when grilling this summer.

Grilling outdoors is one of the most enjoyable events of the summer. One not-so-enjoyable event is inviting foodborne illness to the party. This can happen if grilled foods are not prepared, cooked and served properly. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends marinating all foods in the refrigerator – never at room temperature or outdoors. If you plan to use some of the marinade as a sauce on the cooked food, remember to reserve a separate portion that has not been used on the raw product, due to the potential for bacteria. Michigan State University Extension recommends using an instant read thermometer to make sure your foods are cooked to a safe temperature. To keep your grilled foods hot (above 140 degrees Fahrenheit) and to avoid over cooking, move the product to the side of the grill rack, just away from the heat. Never reuse platters or utensils that have touched raw meat, poultry or seafood. Keep clean cookware and utensils handy to serve cooked food, thus avoiding the spread of bacteria from raw meats, poultry or seafood. If cleaning your grill with a bristle brush, make sure that no detached bristles have made their way into the grilled food.

Quick tips for eating outdoors include:
  • Keep hands clean. If there is no access to running water, use a jug of water, soap and paper towels or moist disposable towelettes.
  • Keep all utensils and cookware clean when preparing food.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure foods are cooked to safe temperatures.
  • Cold perishable foods should be kept in a cooler at 40 F or below until ready to serve.
  • Wrap hot foods well and place in an in insulated container at 140 F or above until serving.

Protect your family and friends from foodborne illness by following these food safety guidelines when transporting, preparing and serving food during warm weather months

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