Pharos-Tribune

Community News Network

May 27, 2013

Staying safe during your Memorial Day cookout

Nobody wants to start the summer with a stomach ache -- or worse. But, it probably will happen as people dust off the grill this Memorial Day weekend for the first cookout of the summer.

"When you fire up the grill to cook out this summer, make sure you are extra vigilant in taking the appropriate safe food handling steps to prevent foodborne illness," says Agriculture Department (USDA) Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen. "Foods commonly served at cookouts can carry pathogens that can make people sick -- especially those most vulnerable to foodborne illness such as young children, the elderly and pregnant women."

The most popular picnic items, including prepared salads, chicken, hamburgers or hotdogs, are at risk of contamination with foodborne bacteria. USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) says following four basic food safety steps -- clean, separate, cook and chill -- during all cooking practices can help reduce foodborne illness.

Clean

Begin your cookout with a clean slate -- literally. Wash preparation surface areas with warm soapy water, especially after contact with raw foods.

Wash your hands with soap under warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food. Make sure anyone who helps prepare food washes their hands as well.

Separate

Raw meat and juice from raw meat can contain harmful bacteria. To prevent cross-contamination, keep all raw meats and poultry separate from vegetables and cooked foods. Use different cutting boards and knives to prepare meats and vegetables.

Cook

After you've fired up the grill, remember the most important weapon in your food safety toolbox: the food thermometer. Proper heating temperatures kill foodborne bacteria. Despite what many people believe, color is not a reliable indicator of doneness.

Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often brown quickly and may appear done on the outside, but still may not have reached a safe minimum internal temperature to kill any harmful bacteria. The food thermometer gives you an accurate reading of internal temperature.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should grocery and convenience stores be allowed to sell cold beer?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.