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Safe Outdoor Eating

Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom

With the start of the holiday weekend, many of us will be firing up the grill. Is there anything better in the summertime than an outdoor cookout with friends and family?

While you’re preparing and cooking your favorites, keep in mind these important guidelines for food safety. Millions of people each year get some type of food borne illness each year – and outdoor eating is a particularly vulnerable time. It’s very easy to avoid, if you pay some attention to the basics. Check them out!

When preparing food:

wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after handling food

separate uncooked and cooked foods and ingredients – don’t cross-contaminate

throw out the leftover marinade for raw foods – don’t use for the cooked version

When cooking and serving food:

start with a clean grill – use a stiff brush to remove burnt debris

cook foods to proper temperature – bacteria are killed at 160 degrees or higher – that’s “medium”; for best results, use an instant food thermometer

keep hot foods hot (160 degrees or higher) and cold foods cold (40 degrees or lower)

keep food covered outdoors to avoid dive-bombing bugs

keep serving utensils handy for “finger foods”

avoid leaving cooked foods outdoors for more than two hours; one hour if the outdoor temperature is over 90 degrees.

Enjoy the holiday weekend!