Friday, June 7, 2019

Avoid a Bummer Summer and Grill Foods Safely

by Wendy Wedum, MSU Extension Pondera County 

Today is the first World Food Safety Day. It was adopted by the United Nations last December.  Food Safety is everyone’s responsibility from how food is grown to how it is processed to delivery and how we each handle food at home.

Last week I talked about getting your grill ready for the summer and today I’m going to talk about food safety practices to make sure you can avoid food borne illnesses and not have a bummer summer.
Grilled food is hard to beat for family meals, camping, tailgating and more. It is also important to avoid any unwelcome guests such as bacteria that cause food borne illness. 

Start these simple food safety rules:
It is important to keep everything clean.  Wash hands before and after handling raw meats because harmful bacteria may be present in raw meat and poultry and the raw juices can contaminate cooked or ready to eat food. Have plenty of clean utensils, serving dishes and cutting boards ready for moving raw meats to the grill and clean plates to put the cooked foods on for serving.

It is important store ready to eat foods separately from raw meats.  Ready to eat foods are usually not cooked or reheated and raw meat juices can contaminate them. Examples of ready to eat foods include salads, side dishes, fried chicken and raw fruit or vegetables.

On the grill, meat needs to be cooked to a safe internal temperature to destroy bacteria. Use a food thermometer to check. The correct internal temperature for Poultry is 165°F, ground meat is 160°F, steaks, chops and roasts are 145°F. Remember to let steaks, burgers and chicken pieces rest 3-5 minutes before eating.  Roasts or a whole chicken may need 10-15 minutes to rest.  Resting helps finish the cooking process and lets the juices be reabsorbed for tender and juicy meat.

As you plan and prepare summer barbecues, remember to keep in mind loved ones who are most at risk for food borne illness. This includes children under 9 years old and adults over 65 years, pregnant women and nursing mothers, and people with weakened immune systems from chronic or short-term illness.

They are the why we keep things clean, why we separate raw and ready to eat foods, why we cook raw food to proper internal temperatures and why we keep all foods at safe temperatures.  Be sure to not take chances with your family’s or friends’ health. Keep hot foods hot, cold foods cold and when in doubt, throw it out.

For more information you can call me at 271-4054 or your own local Extension office. 

World Food Safety Day: 
Five Keys to Safer Food:
Summer Food Safety:

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