It’s that time of year again! As memorial day and the excitement of summer barbeques approach, so does the likelihood of foodborne illnesses. Food-borne bacteria is known to increase rapidly between temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is typical exposure for food at a barbeque. However, these festive days can still be enjoyed in peace by following a few simple food safety guidelines.
First of all, the most basic step; washing hands. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Handwashing is one of the most important things you can do to prevent food poisoning when preparing food for yourself or loved ones.” Simply use hot water, soap and scrub for 20 seconds before any food preparation or consumption.
Another crucial step towards avoiding the growth of food-borne bacteria is cooking all meat and seafood thoroughly. The correct temperatures vary greatly from cut to cut as shown below:
- Whole cuts of beef, pork and fin fish need to reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- All ground meats (ie. pork and beef) should reach an internal temperature 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- All poultry is safe for consumption after reaching the internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Preparation is often an easy time to slip up on food safety measures, but a few key steps can ensure the prevention of food-borne illness. Avoid contact between raw meat prep tools and other foods, washing pans, utensils, etc. thoroughly with hot water and soap before reusing. Keep that famous marinated chicken recipe on the counter. Marinating meats should be stored in such a way as to avoid raw juices coming in contact with other food products. In commercial kitchens, this often means a separate or designated unit OR keeping raw foods BELOW cooked or-ready-to-eat foods.
Finally, prompt cleaning up after the barbeque is recommended in order to keep all foods fresh. Various dishes, such as brisket or mac n’cheese shouldn’t be left out for more than two hours and should be stored at under 40 degrees until ready to reheat. At no time should most left-overs be held in excess of two days.
By adhering to the afore-mentioned food safety tips, American families can avoid bar-b-que sickness and enjoy a summer full of safe and delicious memories!