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Shoot to Grill: Food Safety Tips for a Labor Day BBQ

Here are some basic food safety tips that can help keep you healthy, and not sick.

Summer is almost over, which means it’s just about time for me to go back to school and get more educated.  Today is a good day to fire up your grill (or “barbecue,” as some call it, despite the fact that it is NOT a barbecue).

  1. Wash your hands:  This is a basic food safety tip.  Who knows what kinds of germs, debris particles, or other nasty stuff are hiding on your hands?  Well, preparing foods without washing your hands can get this into whatever you are making.
  2. Keep raw meat away from fresh produce:  When preparing a dish that has raw meat and fresh vegetables, it is important to keep them separate to prevent cross contamination.  My recommendation is to use two cutting boards with two knives:  one for the meat, and one for the vegetables.  Wash your hands before switching between the two just to be sure that you aren’t spreading bacteria.
  3. Test the temperature of meats and/or meat substitute before serving:  As we know, germs like to grow on pretty much anything.  As such, it’s important to make sure that everything is cooked to a safe temperature before serving (after all, I doubt that you or anyone you are serving food to want to get a foodborne illness).  To check the temperature, you need to use a calibrated thermometer.  Simply remove the food from the grill, and stick the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat.  Generally, if the food is above 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 80 degrees Celsius you should be fine.  Here’s an image I found from Healthy Canadians that highlight this:
    Image result for safe food temperatures celsius
  4. Be mindful of the Danger Zone:  No, you are not Kenny Loggins.  You don’t want to go to the Danger Zone.  This is a range of temperatures that allow bacteria to grow, which again, can make you sick.  Because for some reason the USDA does not like adding Celsius temperatures on their infographics, I’ll post two pictures.  One is from the USDA, the other from Australia’s Food Safety Information Counsil:
    Image result for danger zone foodImage result for danger zone food safety uk

I know a lot of what I covered today pertains to American audiences more than international people.  However, these tips still pertain to basic food safety, regardless of the day.

Got any questions or comments?  Feel free to leave one below.

By The Nutrition Punk

I am a dietitian living in Portland, Oregon. I write about a variety of nutrition and heath topics, with the goal of improving people's understanding of food and nutrition so they may be empowered against all the misinformation that is out there.

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