Food Safety Tips for National Grilling Month

July is National Grilling Month! As temperatures get hotter, there’s nothing like outdoor grilling and soaking up the sunshine!

However, food poisoning peaks in the summer months when warmer temperatures cause foodborne germs to flourish. Prevent harmful bacteria from making an appearance at your next cookout and follow simple steps for a safe and enjoyable grilling season.

Food Safety – The Danger Zone

Eating outdoors in warm weather presents a food safety challenge. Bacteria in food multiply faster at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, so summer heat makes the basics of food safety especially important.

Food Safety Steps: Separate – Chill – Clean – Cook

Clean

Hands. Wash your hands with soap before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Wash work surfaces, utensils, and the grill before and after cooking.

Grill and tools. Use a moist cloth or paper towel to clean the grill surface before cooking. If you use a wire bristle brush, thoroughly inspect the grill’s surface before cooking. Wire bristles from grill cleaning brushes may dislodge and stick into food on the grill.

Separate

When shopping, pick up meat, poultry, and seafood last, right before checkout. Separate them from other food in your shopping cart and grocery bags. To guard against cross-contamination, put packages of raw meat and poultry into individual plastic bags.

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Cook

Use a food thermometer to ensure meat is cooked hot enough to kill harmful germs. When smoking, keep temperatures inside the smoker at 225°F to 300°F to keep meat a safe temperature while it cooks.

  • 145°F – whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal (stand-time of 3 minutes at this temperature)
  • 145°F – fish
  • 160°F – hamburgers and other ground beef
  • 165°F – all poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs
  • Smoking: 250°F – 300°F – inside smoke
  • After Grilling: 140°F or warmer – until it’s served

Chill

Divide leftovers into small portions and place in covered, shallow containers. Put in freezer or fridge within two hours of cooking (one hour if above 90°F outside).

Grill Safely

Whether you’re a weekend-only griller, or you fire up the grill on a daily basis, keep your summer food safe with important principles and procedures.

National Fire Protection Association Grilling Safety Tips

This grilling season, the NFPA demonstrates the proper way to use your grill safely to prevent fires.

Additional Food Safety Resources

Infographics

Fact Sheets

Videos & Video News Releases

USDA News Releases

Blogs

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