Is It Done Yet?

Avoid burning dinner with these tips for grilling safety

Summer is upon us, and many folks take advantage of Florida’s warm weather to cook outside on the grill. However, this all-American pastime, which goes hand-in-hand with July Fourth and beach barbecues, does carry some risk. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 76 million Americans become ill every year from harmful bacteria in food.

As bad as that sounds, following a few simple safety tips will allow you to enjoy delicious home-cooked food — without making any trips to the hospital.

First, it is important to purchase a food thermometer instead of relying on color to make sure food is adequately cooked. One in four burgers turns brown before reaching a temperature sufficient to kill all harmful bacteria. The only way to know if your meat is ready and safe to eat is by taking its temperature. Beef, lamb, veal and fish must be cooked to 145 degrees; pork and ground meats to 160 degrees; and all poultry to 165 degrees.

It’s also important to avoid any cross-contamination, so keep other food away from your raw meat, clean your cutting boards well (or better yet, reserve one specifically for raw meat), and don’t use any utensils that have already touched raw meat on your cooked meat. And when you take cooked meat off the grill, be sure to put it on a different plate from the one you used when you brought the raw meat out.

 

For any additional information about food thermometers, or to learn more about safe food preparation, transportation and storage, visit isitdoneyet.gov.

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