USDA Joins Grill Sergeants for Safe Grilling AdviceWed, 23 May 2012 11:39:15 CDT
US Dept of Agriculture experts are sharing advice on food safety for barbecuing with chefs from the US Army’s “Grill Sergeants” cable TV program.
Outdoor grilling is a great tradition for all Americans-in and out of uniform. And whether you are a chef or a backyard barbecue, it’s important to take precautions to prevent food borne illnesses.
Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety says warm weather can really be a factor in the increases in foodborne illness we see during the summer. That’s because we see more moisture, we see hotter temperatures and bacteria multiply at higher rates with that warm weather. But there are some simple steps that people can take to “grill it safe.” They are: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.
When grilling outdoors, bring what you need from the kitchen, including something to clean hands and surfaces. Also, always bring two sets of plates.
“You want to have one plate for your raw meat, poultry, seafood - whatever you’re putting on the grill, and you want to have another plate for the cooked product when you take it off. You never want to cross contaminate between those two,” Hagen says.
And, experts say, never cook without a food thermometer.
Diane Van, USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service says, “Always use a food thermometer because you can’t tell by looking whether meat or poultry is safely cooked. Beef, veal, pork and lamb, roasts, and steaks should be cooked to 145°F with a three minute rest time. Ground meat should be cooked to 160°F. And any poultry should be cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165°F.”
Finally, chill leftovers within two hours of serving or within one hour on hot days above 90 degrees. Keep raw foods in a cooler or ice chest.
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