Planning Makes for Safe Cookouts
Memorial Day is marked as the kick-off to summer, and a Nebraska summer means outdoor grilling. Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said a little planning will help to make sure your cookout is safe.
“The fun ends in a hurry if someone gets sick from your food,” Dr. Pour said. “However, it is very easy to prevent that from happening.”
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 “rested” 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 emphasized that grilled meat needs special attention. You should put cooked meat on a clean platter and not reuse a plate that earlier was used for raw meat to avoid cross-contamination. Also, if you marinated meat in a sauce, do not reuse that sauce on cooked food. Always 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 – 145 degrees
Hamburger and other ground meats – 155 degrees
Poultry – 165 degrees
If you are reheating any precooked foods, they should be warmed to 165 degrees
“It is impossible to tell if meat is safe to eat just by looking at it,” Dr. Pour said. “Using a thermometer is the only way to know for sure that the meat has reached a high enough temperature to destroy pathogens of public health concern.”
Nothing says summer is here like fresh-grilled meats, but nothing ruins a summer outing faster than a food-borne illness. “Please remember these simple rules and enjoy the season,” Dr. Pour said.