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Summertime grilling? keep food safe with USDA tips

Summertime grilling? keep food safe with USDA tips

By Jamie Martin

Summer is here, and cookouts are a popular way to celebrate the season. But with hot weather comes an increased risk of foodborne illness. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service offers these tips to keep your summer meals safe and delicious.

Clean Hands, Clean Start -

Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. If running water isn't available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Pack for Safety -

Transporting food to picnics or cookouts? Pack perishables like meat, poultry, and cut veggies in coolers with ice or frozen gel packs. Keep coolers out of direct sunlight and maintain a temperature below 40°F (4°C). Pack beverages separately to avoid frequent cooler openings.

Beat the Danger Zone -

Bacteria multiply rapidly between 40°F (4°C) and 140°F (60°C), known as the "danger zone." Keep cold foods cold with proper refrigeration or ice packs. Maintain hot foods above 140°F (60°C) using grills, chafing dishes, or slow cookers. Use a thermometer to regularly check temperatures.

Two-Hour Rule -

Foods left out of temperature control for more than two hours (one hour if above 90°F) are unsafe to eat. When in doubt, throw it out!

By following these simple steps, you can enjoy summer cookouts without the worry of foodborne illness.

Photo Credit: usda

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