It’s Grillin’ Time!

by Simone Leonard
Contributing writer

Summer is upon us, which brings sunshine, outdoor fun and grilling.
Grilling and barbecues are long-standing American traditions. Here are a few tips to ensure food safety while cooking this summer. If a person does not use safety precautions while grilling, bacteria have the capability to multiply and make friends and family sick through food borne illness.

Sgt. Rachel Lewis, veterinary food inspector with the Public Health Command District-Northeast, offered up the following barbecue safety tips:

When Shopping
• Always remember to separate raw meat and poultry from other foods to prevent contamination.

• Always refrigerate perishable food within two hours of purchasing.

Thawing Meat
• Use the refrigerator for slow, safe thawing or thaw sealed packages in cold

• You can use microwaves to defrost meat if the meat will be placed on the grill immediately.

• Poultry and cubed meat or stew can be safely marinated up to two days in the refrigerator.

• Beef, veal, pork, lamb, roasts, chops and steaks can be marinated in the refrigerator up to five days.

Keep Everything Clean
• To prevent food borne illness, do not use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry.

Cook Thoroughly
• When cooking raw beef, pork, lamb, veal, chops and roasts the internal temperature should reach 145 before consuming.

• All ground beef, pork, lamb and veal internal temperatures should reach 160 before consuming.

Leftovers and Reheating
• Remember to refrigerate any leftovers promptly and discard any food left out more than two hours after being cooked.

• When reheating cooked meats, grill until the meat has an internal temperature of 165.

• All poultry should have an internal temperature of 165 before consuming.
The U.S. Fire Administration offers these tips on fire safety:

• Before using a grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line. Make sure the venturi tubes — where the air and gas mix — are not blocked.

• Do not overfill the propane tank.

• Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a barbecue.

• Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flame can flashback up into the container and explode.

• Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach your children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately. Supervise children around outdoor grills.

• Dispose of hot coals properly — douse them with plenty of water and stir them to ensure the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.

• Never grill or barbecue in enclosed areas — carbon monoxide could be produced.
Make sure everyone knows to stop, drop and roll in case a piece of clothing does catch fire. Call 112 or your local emergency number if a burn warrants serious medical attention.

The Kleber Fire Department number is 0631-411-7721.

For additional questions, refer to the USDA website or call the Public Health Command-Northeast at 0631-413-6168.