With Independence Day coming up this weekend, a lot of US citizens will find themselves Barbecuing and cooking for friends and family. We certainly will. My personal favorite grilled hot dogs with a side of beans, fruit salad, and maybe some barbecued corn on the cob; and to wash it down, some refreshing lemonade. I don’t know about you, but there have been some gatherings that did not end so well, and have left me not wanting to enjoy shrimp or some other type of food for a long time. Here are some food safety tips to help your scrumptious ribs and potato salad not make any one go home sick.
It is important that when cooking meat, you keep a close eye on the temperature. Poultry should hit 165 °F at the minimum and be held there for at least three (3) minutes. Beef, pork, lamb, and veal should all hit 145 °F and be held there for at least three (3) minutes. It is important these meats are cooked so hot because most bacteria cannot survive these temperatures. Anything below and it could be as bad as helping the bacteria to grow.
It is important to work in a clean space and with clean utensils to decrease the chance of cross contamination and food borne illness. Make sure to use separate utensils for vegetables and meats and wash the area off before a new food is added to the mix. Never use the same utensil or workspace for clean/cooked foods and raw meats. Bacteria could still be hanging out and contaminate the newly cooked food.
Always wash off your fruits and vegetables before cooking and/or consuming. This will help reduce the amount of chemicals, bacteria, dirt, or critters that may have found a home on your foods. Even organic fruits and veggies should be scrubbed down beforehand.
Perishable and cooked foods should sit out no longer than one hour, two if weather temperatures are below 90°F. Leftovers should be stored in shallow containers in the fridge or freezer, within the one hour of uncontrolled food safety temperatures.
Other Smart Thoughts
- Charms or pens to write on glasses and cups – no sharing the germs
- Follow the recipe – they’ve already worked out the kinks
- Pull hair back – no shedding in my meals please
- Hygiene. – Wash your hands! It is recommended to wash and scrub your hands and forearms for 20-30 seconds before and after preparing food. Also, when switching between different foods. (Ie. When switching to fruit after meat.)
Whether you are BBQ-ing for your family, or throwing a block party, it is always smart to practice food safety. Bring along a meat thermometer, ice chests, and enough serve ware. Leave the memories to the fun activities and great tasting food, not the unhappy stomach after.