This summer, the USDA reminds everyone planning parties, picnics, barbeques and more to be safe and healthy while cooking or grilling.
Independence Day is approaching, and with that, many residents will be cooking on their grill for possibly the first time this season.
As you plan your Fourth of July celebration, remember these ten food safety tips to keep your barbecue free from foodborne illness:
- Clean Your Grill. Scrub the grill clean before use. No access to a faucet? Carry bottled water, soap, and paper towels.
- Defrost Safely. Thaw frozen beef, poultry, or fish safely in the refrigerator, cold water, or a microwave oven. Cook immediately after thawing.
- Avoid Cross-Contamination. Separate raw meat and vegetables by using different cutting boards.
- Check Internal Temperatures. Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature by using a food thermometer:
- Whole cuts of meat: 145 F with a three-minute rest time
- Fish: 145 F
- Ground meats: 160 F
- Egg dishes: 160 F
- Poultry (ground or whole): 165 F
- Thoroughly Cook Frozen Meat. Although frozen products may appear to be pre-cooked or browned, treat them as raw food and cook thoroughly. Products labeled as “Cook and Serve,” “Ready to Cook,” and “Oven Ready” must be cooked.
- Use Food Thermometers Correctly on Burgers. Insert the thermometer through the side of the patty until the probe reaches the center.
- Beware of the Danger Zone. Bacteria multiply rapidly between 40 F and 140 F—a.k.a. the Danger Zone. USDA recommends that perishable food be consumed or refrigerated within two hours (one hour in room or outdoor temperatures of 90 F and above).
- Store Leftovers Properly. Divide leftovers into smaller portions and place them in shallow containers in your refrigerator or cooler.
- Keep It Cool. Pack coolers with ice bags, gel packs, or frozen water bottles. Use an appliance thermometer to monitor that food stays chilled at 40 F or below.
- When In Doubt Call. For more questions about food safety before the Fourth of July, contact the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to an expert or chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
Photo from the USDA