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Safe grilling can prevent summer illnesses from food

Summer grilling
Outdoor barbecues, a summer staple for most families, can lead to foodborne illnesses if safe grilling practices are not followed. (Source: Adobe Stock)

Summer is the prime season for enjoying a variety of meats, fish and other foods cooked outside on the grill – but it’s also prime time for foodborne illnesses, which peak in the summer months. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every six Americans will become sick from a foodborne pathogen during any given year, which makes preparing foods for outdoor cooking and grilling them safely an important priority for every family.

To help keep your family and friends healthy when grilling this season, the CDC provides the following tips:

• Separate meats, poultry, and seafood from other food before grilling, keeping them chilled at 40°F or below.

• Wash your hands using hot, soapy water both before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood. The same goes for platters, utensils and other surfaces that touch these foods. 

• Clean the grill surface before and after cooking; if using a wire brush, make sure no bristles are left behind. 

• Don’t cross-contaminate…throw out marinades that have touched raw meat, and use clean utensils and plates to transfer cooked meat.

• Use a food thermometer to ensure that meats, poultry, and seafood are cooked to safe internal temperatures, as follows:

1. 145°F – whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal (let stand for 3 minutes at this temperature before serving)

2. 145°F – fish

3. 160°F – hamburgers made from ground beef or other ground meats

4. 165°F –poultry and pre-cooked meats, such as hot dogs

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