This weekend kicks off the summer grilling season. Thousands of people will be attending a family get-together, barbecue or picnic to enjoy the warm weather. Bacteria also enjoys the warm weather - the heat provides prime opportunity for foodborne bacteria to multiply quickly. Keep the following tips in mind to avoid foodborne illness and keep your family and friends safe and healthy.
Keep Cold Food Cold
- Cold food should be kept at 40 degrees or below – never let your food get into the “temperature danger zone” (40 – 140 degrees F) where bacteria multiplies rapidly.
- Once served, cold food should be kept out no longer than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is over 90 degrees).
- Keep coolers closed – this helps retain the cold temperature.
- Foods like chicken salad should be kept in containers and place directly on ice – replace ice as necessary.
Keep Hot Food Hot
- Cooked, hot food should be kept at 140 degrees or higher – any lower and you are in the temperature danger zone (40 – 140 degrees F).
- Once served, hot food should be kept out no longer than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is over 90 degrees).
- When you marinate meat, keep it covered in the refrigerator – never on the counter or outdoors. Never reuse a marinade that had raw meat in it. If you want to make a sauce from a marinade, you must boil it first to remove any bacteria.
- Be sure to use separate platters, cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and cooked meat to avoid cross-contamination.
Following these tips will ensure a safe, illness free summer grilling season! If you have any other tips to share – please feel free to do so!