The season for backyard picnics and barbecues has begun. Cooking outside means a little more care in food handling is necessary to avoid food borne illness.
Follow these BBQ Safety Tips:
• When shopping, buy cold food like meat and poultry last. Put packages of raw meat and poultry into plastic bags to guard against cross-contamination, which can happen when meat and poultry juices drip on other foods.
• Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. If marinade is to be used as sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion of the marinade before putting raw meat and poultry in it.
• Meats should be kept cold - 40 degrees (refrigerator temperature) - until cooked, keeping the bacteria found on all fresh meats from growing.
• Wash hands with hot water and soap before and after handling raw meat.
• If meat or poultry is brought outside, keep it in an ice chest until grilling begins and do not put other foods in the same cooler.
• Cook meats thoroughly to a safe internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria - hamburger 160 degrees, chicken 175, pork 160 and all other meats 145 degrees.
• When taking food off the grill, use a clean platter - do not put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry.
• Use clean utensils. Utensils that touch raw meat should not be used to handle cooked foods until washed thoroughly.
• Milk, mayonnaise and eggs must stay cold at all times. Milk can stay fresh 10 days at 40 degrees, but only 1 day if it reaches room temperature.