Summer Cooking: Protect Against Foodborne Illnesses
Food poisoning is very common in summer months because warmer temperatures can cause germs to grow more quickly on food.
Follow these simple steps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be safe and avoid getting sick:
- Separate- When food shopping pick up meat, poultry, and seafood last. Keep these items separate from the rest of your groceries. Place any meat, poultry or seafood into individual plastic bags.
- Chill- Keep meat, poultry, and seafood refrigerated until ready to grill. If you are traveling with raw meat, poultry or seafood, keep them in an insulated cooler below 40°F.
- Clean- Wash your hands with soap before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Clean any cooking and preparation surfaces, utensils, and the grill before and after cooking.
- Check your grill and tools- Be sure to wipe the grill surface before cooking using a moist cloth or paper towel. If you use a wire bristle brush, check the surface of the grill before cooking. Bristles from grill cleaning brushes may come off the brush and stick into food on the grill.
- Cook thoroughly- Food needs to be cooked at a temperature hot enough to kill harmful germs. Check that meat is cooked thoroughly with a food thermometer. If you are smoking food, keep temperatures inside the smoker between 225°F and 300°F to keep meat a safe temperature while it cooks.
- Do not cross-contaminate- To protect against cross-contamination use clean utensils and a clean plate to remove cooked meat from the grill. Throw out any marinades and sauces that touched raw meat or seafood to prevent the spread of germs to cooked foods.
Quick guide to cooking temperatures:
- 145°F – whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal (stand-time of 3 minutes at this temperature)
- 145°F – fish
- 160°F – hamburgers and other ground beef
- 165°F – all poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs
- After Grilling: Keep food at 140°F or warmer until it is served
- Refrigerate- Do not leave leftovers outside. Separate any leftovers in small portions and place in covered, shallow containers. Be sure to refrigerate or freeze within two hours of cooking (one hour if the temperature is above 90°F outside).
Source: Get Ready to Grill Safely (2017). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases.