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How can I keep food safe when cooking outdoors?

Fresh-cut grass, lemonade, bug spray, suntan lotion and…oh yes…meats and vegetables cooking over an open flame. These are the smells of summer.

Warmer weather provides us with the wonderful opportunity to cook and dine outdoors. Take a moment to review these helpful tips to ensure the safety of you and your guests when cooking up your summertime favorites:
  • Work with a clean slate: Before firing up the coals, make sure your grill is clean by scrubbing it with a steel brush and hot, soapy water.
  • Proper preparation: Marinate meat in the refrigerator, never on the counter or outside by the grill, and bring leftover sauces to a boil before reusing them on cooked meats to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Keep the upper hand: Wash cutting boards and utensils in hot, soapy water between uses or use color-coded sets to keep raw meats and ready-to-eat foods separate. And always wash your hands.
  • Food safety first: Cooking to proper internal temperatures not only helps ensure the taste of your grilled dishes, it also helps ensure their safety. Use a meat thermometer to make sure your culinary creations are done.
  • Watch the clock: When you dine outdoors, keep guests safe by setting out perishable food items in one-hour shifts. After each shift, place uneaten food back in a refrigerator that is set below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Or keep perishable foods on ice to make sure they stay properly chilled.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.