July 2013

(We welcome a guest contributor this month! Jamie Stein, Dietetic Intern from Bradley University, helped put together the tips and information for July.)


Summer Cookouts

Keep Your Family Safe from Food-Borne Illness


Keep it Clean:

  • Scrub the grill with hot, soapy water if you aren’t cooking in aluminum foil.
  • Wash your hands--you hear it all the time, but actually do it! Wash them before cooking and anytime before and after you handle raw meat.
  • Remember to pack hand sanitizer if you won’t be around running water.

Thawing and Marinating:

  • Always thaw in the refrigerator, microwave, or under cold running water. Never thaw meat on the counter or next to the grill (it needs to stay below 40°).
  • Marinate meat in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. If you want to use some of the marinade as a sauce later on the cooked meat, keep it separate, so you aren’t double dipping between raw meat and the food you’re going to eat.  

Keep Raw and Ready-to-Eat Foods Separate

  • Cut raw meats on a separate cutting board.
  • Use different utensils for the grill (for example, don’t turn raw chicken on the grill with a fork and then use that fork to serve a piece of cooked chicken). Wash utensils in hot soapy water after touching raw foods.
  • Don’t put the fully-cooked meats back on the plate you brought raw meat out on.
  • It may sound like more work, but it’s worth it to not become sick.

Check it’s Done

  • Don’t trust the juice color or meat tenderness for doneness. The innermost part of the meat should be:
    • Steak: 145°F (Allow to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming)
    • Hamburgers: 160°
    • Chicken: 165°
  • Own a food thermometer! Simple ones can be found at Walmart for less than $10--there are even models that double as a grilling fork for around $20.

Watch How Long it’s Out:

  • Eat or refrigerate cooked and cold foods within 2 hours (1 hour if the weather is over 90°)
  • If you want your party food to be out longer, keep cold foods on ice and hot foods in an insulated container. Or rotate out different dishes from the fridge in 1 hour shifts.
  • Check the food temperatures every once in awhile (less than 40° or higher than 140° is where it should be).

Use Leftovers in 3-4 Days

  • Store them in shallow containers so they can cool quickly. Label them with the date so you know when to toss.
  • Reheat foods to 165° and bring leftover sauces to a boil to know they are safe to eat.
Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, FDA