Summer is here! What a perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy the warm summer air we’ve all been craving! For some individuals, spending time outdoors could involve hiking, boating, or reading in the shade, but one thing we can all agree on, summer is the perfect time to enjoy some of our favorite foods on the grill. Whether with family, friends, or even coworkers, cooking food on the grill appears to be a popular summer activity. With summer holidays approaching, like the Fourth of July, it is important to keep your celebrations healthy and safe by following food safety tips to prevent contamination while grilling.
According to the FDA and the USDA Food Safety organizations, there are grilling food safety tips to be followed for all food types:
- Be Clean: First, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly, especially after touching any form of raw meat. Before consumption, make sure to rinse off fruits and vegetables as there may be bacteria on the surfaces. Never rinse off raw meat as this can increase your risk of cross-contamination.
- Separate: Keep raw meats away from other foods such as salads, dips, or fruit. Be conscientious of not using the same utensils for putting raw meat on the grill, and for taking cooked meat off the grill. Using the same utensils that touched raw meat could be covered in harmful bacteria, which can contaminate the cooked meat.
- Temperature: Use a food thermometer to check if food is fully cooked. Sometimes grilling can give you a false impression where food looks fully cooked on the outside, but is under cooked on the inside. The recommended internal temperature for beef, pork, lamb, and veal is 145°F, ground meat is 160°F, whole poultry is 165°F, and fish is 145°F.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Lastly, make sure to be aware of how long fruits and vegetables should be cooking on the grill. Thicker cut fruits and vegetables will have to cook longer than thinner pieces. Although, fruits and vegetables do not have to reach a minimum internal temperature like meat, it is still important to cook them thoroughly.
Although grilling out in the summer can be a fun thing to do, it is important to take action and be careful in preventing the harmful spread of bacteria to our food. To learn more about additional tips and guidelines to follow when cooking various foods this summer, check out the FDA and USDA Food Safety organization websites to learn more.