Plan in Advance for Safe Cookouts
A Nebraska summer means outdoor cooking, and Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said a little planning will help to make sure your food is safe.
‚ÄúThe fun is over quickly if someone gets sick from your food,‚ÄĚ Dr. Pour said. ‚ÄúBut that is something you can prevent.‚ÄĚ
Outdoor dining safety rules:
¬∑ Clean your grill between each use.
¬∑ Use a meat thermometer to ensure that you thoroughly cook meat and poultry.
¬∑ Beef and pork should be ‚Äúrested‚ÄĚ for 3 minutes to allow the heat to spread and kill more contaminants.
¬∑ Always make sure you keep the cold foods cold, 41 degrees or below, and the hot foods hot, above 135 degrees.
¬∑ Promptly refrigerate any leftovers.
Dr. Pour pointed out that grilled meat needs special attention. You can avoid cross-contamination by putting cooked meat on a clean platter and not reusing a plate that earlier was used for raw meat. Also, avoid using the sauce you used to marinate meat on cooked food. Remember to wash your hands, utensils, and cutting boards if they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry.
The internal temperature of cooked meats should be:
¬∑ Beef and pork, steaks, roasts and chops ‚Äď 145 degrees
¬∑ Hamburger and other ground meats ‚Äď 155 degrees
¬∑ Poultry ‚Äď 165 degrees
¬∑ If you are reheating any precooked foods, they should be warmed to 165 degrees
‚ÄúYou cannot tell by looking at meat if it is safe to eat,‚ÄĚ Dr. Pour said. ‚ÄúThe only way to know for sure is to use a food thermometer to check if the meat has reached a high enough temperature to destroy pathogens of public health concern.‚ÄĚ
Nothing says summer is here like fresh-grilled meats, but nothing ruins a summer outing faster than a food-borne illness. ‚ÄúPlease remember these few simple ideas for your health and safety,‚ÄĚ Dr. Pour said.