Follow these Four Easy Steps for a Safe Cookout

Cookout season is here, and while one of your main goals for this time of year should be having fun, you should also make sure that any cookouts you host or attend are safe. Unfortunately, due to the fact that they take place outside, often in hot temperatures, cookouts are prime events for contracting foodborne illnesses. However, preventing the spread of foodborne illness at your next cookout should be easy, thanks to these four simple steps from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  1. Clean – wash hands and surfaces often
  • Scrub grills with hot, soapy water before use
  • Wash hands before, during, and after food prep
  • Keep hand sanitizer or moist towelettes on hand in case water is not readily available
  1. Separate – don’t cross-contaminate
  • Use separate cutting boards, plates, and grilling utensils for raw meat
  • Clean all utensils immediately after using them on raw meat
  • Never use the same brush to baste raw and cooked meat
  • Boil any leftover marinade before using it on cooked meat
  1. Cook – ensure food is cooked to the proper temperature
  • Use a meat thermometer
    –  Checking the color of meat or juices is not effective
  • Ensure proper internal temperatures
    –  Steak: 145°F (let rest 3 minutes before carving/consuming)
    –  Fish: 145°F
    –  Hamburgers: 160°F
    –  Chicken: 165°F
  1. Chill – refrigerate food promptly
  • Thaw frozen foods in the fridge or microwave, not on the countertop or grill
  • Marinate meat in the fridge
  • Put all dishes in the fridge after 2 hours
    –  When temps are >90°F, don’t leave anything out more for than one hour
  • Trash leftover grilled foods after 3-4 days
  • Reheat all grilled foods to an internal temp of 165°F

Don’t let foodborne illness spoil your next cookout. Have fun, be safe, and don’t forget to load up your plate with fruits and veggies!

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