Grilling and Storing Food in the Summer Heat: food safety tips: grilling and storing
As the weather turns nicer and the temperature warms up, it’s time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Often that also means enjoying the grill, preparing food outside for family and friends who have gathered for a picnic, reunion, or just because it’s a nice day. To keep it enjoyable – and healthy – there are some guidelines that should be followed so that everyone’s food remains safe. Nothing ruins a summer outing more than foodborne illness.
Cross-contamination is a significant problem when preparing food on the grill. Raw meat and fresh vegetables are usually laid out together and sometimes placed on the same grill surface. The best first step is to make sure the grill is clean by thoroughly removing all previous food debris from the grilling surface.
When cooking meat such as hamburgers and steaks, always use separate plates for raw meat and for the finished, cooked product. It’s tempting (and easier) to use the same plate for carrying raw meat to the grill and then for serving the cooked burgers, but it’s safer to put the first plate in the dishwasher where it will be properly cleaned and then to use a new, clean plate for serving.
Leftovers from the cookout? Be sure to store them the right way to prevent spoilage and contamination. That plate you used for serving the burgers should not be used to store them in the refrigerator overnight. Instead, put the leftover burgers and steaks in a container with a lid that seals tight.
Taking the time to follow proper food preparation and handling guidelines can mean the difference between a great day of grilling, family, and friends and the possibility of guests becoming ill from contaminated food. Enjoy your summer, safely!
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