Grill Week Part Deux: Summer Food Safety 101

Grill Week Part Deux: Summer Food Safety 101

Who doesn’t love the way summer meals are served? Nobody, that’s who. Dinner is just better when it’s called a picnic or a barbecue. You’re outside, you’re eating with your fingers…. and it’s all fun and games until someone gets food poisoning. Seriously, did you know that 11 to 13 million Canadians get food poisoning every year? In fact, what people often refer to as a “24 hour flu” is frequently a mild case of food poisoning.  The risk for food borne bacteria is higher in the summer for all the reasons you expect – you’re preparing food away from your kitchen (which is spotless like mine, of course… um…okay, let’s just move on) and you’re serving food in the baking sun.

So, what can you do to avoid getting sick? Avoiding cross contamination is the key. I am far from being a perfect housekeeper but it’s worth it to stick to these rules when it comes to summer food prep. Here are some rules that will help keep you and your family safe. 

1. Right at the grocery store, keep meat and produce separate.

2. While you’re preparing food, use separate cutting boards and knives for meat and produce. Wash your hands and all cooking utensils in hot soapy water between uses.

3. Change dish cloths daily.

4. Marinate meat in the fridge not on the counter.

5. Do not allow produce – lettuce and tomatoes for your burgers – to touch raw meat or its juices.

6. Don’t judge doneness by simply cutting in to meat and looking at the colour. Get out that meat thermometer that’s gathering dust on the top of the fridge. Whole meats should be 145 degrees Farenheit. Ground meats should be 160 degrees and poultry should be 165 degrees.

7. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. The danger zone, where bacteria likes to party, is between 40 degrees Farenheit and 140 degrees.

8. Get leftovers in the fridge promptly – within two hours.

For more information about avoid food poisoning any time of the year, check out the excellent, easy to use site

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