Summer is here and the time is right to take the party outdoors! Here are some safety tips from Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC for a spectacular grilling season!
With summer in full swing, there’s nothing quite like the fun of cooking in the great outdoors. If you’re mindful of a few safety tips, you’ll help ensure a good time is had by all.
FOOD PREP SAFETY
The U.S. Department of Agriculture1 shares these guidelines: Get your food home from the grocery store quickly. If it’s above 90 degrees out, refrigerate meats, poultry, and fish within an hour. If you’re marinating it ahead of cooking time, do it in the fridge to keep the food safe for consumption. Be sure to thaw frozen foods completely so they cook evenly.
KEEP IT CLEAN: BE SURE TO USE CLEAN UTENSILS AND PLATTERS.
To prevent foodborne illness, don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Harmful bacteria present in raw meat and poultry and their juices can contaminate safely cooked food.
COOK IT THOROUGHLY
Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow the meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming.
GRILL THE FOOD, NOT YOU!
According to the National Fire Prevention Association2 (NFPA), there is an average of 10,200 home fires a year caused by using outdoor grills. NFPA offers these basic rules for a safe and enjoyable time when you’re cooking outside.
Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors. The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?
Young children should be kept away from a grill. Give them another “job” that is safer, like setting a table or tossing the salad!
A FEW MORE TIPS:
Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
Never leave your grill unattended.
Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it. Do you have a charcoal or propane grill? Get tips for their safe use at the NFPA website.
By keeping these easy tips in mind, we are confident that you and your family will have a great (and safe) summer when grilling!
1 Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA, www.fsis.usda.gov
2 National Fire Protection Association, nfpa.org/education
ABOUT MEGAN RILEY
Megan Riley joined the Blue Cross NC Marketing & Community Engagement team in 2017. Following a decorated career in local television news and digital content production. She enjoys volunteering with the Junior League of Raleigh, Carolina shag dancing, taking beach trips with family, rooting for the NCSU Wolfpack.