Follow Food Safety Tips This Summer When Grilling

May 5, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. — Summer is on its way, and that means grilling season is starting.

 Memorial Day weekend signals the start of the grilling season, said Julie Albrecht, food specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

"It is important not to forget about food safety while having fun," Albrecht said.

Albrecht recommends following these tips for a safe grilling season:

– Wash hands with warm water for at least 20 seconds before handling food.

– Don't cross contaminate. Keep raw and cooked meat separate.

– Preheat the coals on the grill for about 20-30 minutes before grilling, or until the coals are lightly coated with ash.

– Do not let raw meat, poultry, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables or cooked food sit at room temperature for more than two hours.

– Hot dogs should be cut lengthwise or into very small pieces before being given to children, as they can be a choking hazard.

– Always marinate foods in the refrigerator, not on a counter or outside.

– Do not use sauce that was used to marinate raw meat on cooked food.

– Keep hot food hot and cold food cold.

– Keep cold food at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below until served. Hot food should be kept at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or above until served.

– Temperature is important when cooking meat. Use a meat thermometer to make sure meats reach the minimum temperature required to kill all the microbes.

"The best way to know that your meat or poultry is done is to use a food thermometer," Albrecht said. "They are available where kitchen utensils are sold."

In addition, Albrecht urges to use proper temperatures/cooking times:

– Poultry: at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

– Ground pork or beef: 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

– Beef, veal and lamb steaks and roasts: 145 degrees Fahrenheit for medium rare and 160 degrees Fahrenheit for medium.

– Fin fish: 145 degrees Fahrenheit of until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.

– Clams, oysters and mussels: until the shells are open.

– Shrimp, lobster and crabs: until the meat is pearly and opaque.

Julie Albrecht, Ph.D.
Nutrition and Health Sciences

Heather Haskins
Student Writer

Sandi Alswager Karstens
IANR News Service