A couple of weeks ago, we talked a little bit about how a clean grill is very important in preventing food poisoning at your summer cookouts. With Memorial Day fast approaching—the holiday that many observe as the semi-official start of summer—more and more people will be hosting barbecues and cooking out on the grill again. While a clean grill is a great start, there are other steps that you should be taking to ensure that your food is safe to eat.
Guidelines for Safe Grilling
Whether you are having dozens of people over for a party or simply preparing dinner for your family, it is critical to handle meat, chicken, and seafood properly, or you run the risk of making people very sick. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some tips from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the safe handling of grilled proteins.
Separate raw proteins – Food safety begins at the grocery store. When you are shopping, be sure to grab meat or seafood last so that products can stay refrigerated longer. Then, separate them from the other items in your cart and bags. It is also a good idea to put raw meat or poultry in individual bags to prevent cross-contamination.
Stay cool – As soon as you get home from the store, put raw meat, chicken, and seafood in the refrigerator or freezer (under 40°F) until you are ready to grill. Thaw frozen proteins under refrigeration to maintain the highest level of safety. If you plan to marinate your meat or poultry, do so in the refrigerator and not on the counter, as dangerous bacteria thrive and multiply quickly at room temperature.
Keep it clean – You should always wash your hands before preparing any kind of food. It is also important to wash your hands after handling raw proteins. Utensils and work surfaces should also be washed before and after cooking. As we discussed last time, your grill should be cleaned before and after cooking as well.
Do not cross-contaminate – Never re-use sauces or marinades that have touched raw meat. Also, always use clean utensils and plates when taking cooked meat or seafood off the grill. It is extremely dangerous to allow raw meat juices to come into contact with cooked food, so take precautions to prevent this type of cross-contamination.
Cook food thoroughly – Meat, poultry, and seafood must be brought up to a temperature that will kill harmful bacteria. This temperature varies depending on the specific protein in question, but the range is typically between 145°F and 165°F, with poultry requiring the highest temperatures.
Speak With a Chicago Food Poisoning Lawyer
If you become ill after attending a summer cookout at which grilled meats or seafood are served, an Illinois foodborne illness attorney can help you understand your available options. Call Newland & Newland LLP at 312-981-0409 to discuss your situation in a free consultation today.