Food Poisoning Peaks in the Outdoor Grilling Season
During the spring and summer months, the number of outdoor barbecues and picnics
increase. These events present additional challenges in handling food safely, because
bacteria grow the best during warm and humid weather. Events such as barbecues and
picnics create ideal circumstances for rapid bacterial growth, which can cause people
to get sick from food. The Greenlee County Health Department recommends the following
food safety tips for your outdoor events:
If cooking and preparing foods beforehand, like salads, meats, and poultry, give
them plenty of time to completely chill in your refrigerator. Marinate meat and
poultry in the refrigerator and do not reuse the marinade. For restaurant prepared
foods, eat them within two hours from pick up.
Keep Cold Foods Cold
Perishable foods should be stored in an insulated cooler packed with ice or ice
packs to keep the food cold. Replenish ice when low and keep the cooler in the shade
to help keep the food cold.
Keep Everything Clean
Remember to wash your hands prior to preparing food. Use disposable wet hand wipes
to clean your hands if water is unavailable. Do not use the same dish, utensils
or cutting board for raw and cooked foods.
A food thermometer is the only way to check the doneness of meat and poultry. Use
your food thermometer to check that your food reaches the final cooking temperatures
- Ground Meat (Beef, Pork) to 160°F
- Ground Meat (Turkey) to 165°F
- Steaks to 145° to 170°F
- Chicken (breast) to 170°F
- Chicken, Turkey, whole to 180°F
Keep the cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill rack until you
are ready to serve the food.
When in Doubt, Throw it Out
Food left out for more than 2 hours is not safe to eat and should be discarded.
Leftovers that have been off the grill for less than 1 hour can be safely cooled
and used later if they are packed in ice.