With Memorial Day weekend quickly approaching, stressing the importance food safety is a priority for the Cleveland Department of Public Health (CDPH). Unsafe food handling or storage can cause serious illness, including E. coli, and Salmonella. “Warm weather makes it easier for harmful bacteria to multiply”, says Jana Rush, CDPH’s Chief Epidemiologist. Ms. Rush also says, “A good rule of thumb is that anything you have to cook needs to remain hot and anything cold needs to remain cold.”
Here are some of the most important food safety tips for grilling outdoors:
- Wash Your Hands – Always wash your hands before and after handling raw meat and poultry, after touching dirty kitchen equipment, utensils, dishes, work surfaces, and when hands are visibly soiled. Hand washing is the most important action to stop the spread of infection and disease.
- Keep Cold Food Cold – Keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use. Only take meat and poultry out when they are ready to go on the grill.
- Cook Food Thoroughly – Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.
- Keep Everything Clean – Be sure there are plenty of clean utensils and platters. To prevent foodborne illness, do not use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Harmful bacteria present in raw meat and poultry and their juices can contaminate safely cooked food.
- Reheat Completely – When reheating fully cooked meats like hot dogs, grill to 165 °F or until steaming hot.
- Keep Hot Food Hot – After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served — at 140 °F or warmer. While at home, keep cooked meat hot in an oven set at approximately 200 °F.
- Serve Food on a Clean Platter – When taking food off the grill, use a clean platter. Do not put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry. Any harmful bacteria present in the raw meat juices could contaminate safely cooked food.
Raafeeq Ali, Food Program Manager at CDPH says, “Following these simple food safety tips can make your cookout experience a healthy and enjoyable one.”
For more information about food safety, please call (216) 664-2300