Food Safety Tips For A Safe Summer Grilling Season

When you think of summer grilling, many things probably come to mind including nice weather, an ice cold-beverage, friends and family and great food. However, it is important to include food safety to this list to make sure that your food and fun isn’t ruined by foodborne illness. To ensure a safe summer grilling season, follow these tips:                                                             

When Shopping for meat:

  • Make fresh meat the last item to go into your shopping cart. Be sure to separate raw meat from other items in your cart.
  • Ask the cashier to bag raw meat separately from other items
  • Plan to go straight home from the grocery store to get meat into your refrigerator asap.

When Storing meat:

  • Refrigerate or freeze meat as soon as possible after purchase to preserve freshness and slow growth of bacteria.
  • If refrigerated, keep at 40 °F or below and use ground meats and poultry within one or two days; and beef, veal, pork and lamb steaks, roasts and chops within five days.
  • For longer freezer storage, wrap in heavy duty plastic wrap, aluminum foil or plastic bags made for freezing. Meat and poultry will be safe indefinitely if kept frozen at 0 °F, but will lose quality over time.
  • Never leave raw meat, poultry, or any perishable food out at room temperature for more than two hours (one hour at 90 °F and above).

When Cooking meat:

  • Cook meat to a safe temperature to destroy harmful bacteria that may be present. Color of meat and poultry is not a good indicator of safety. Use a food thermometer to make sure meats have reached a safe minimum internal temperature.  Safe Cooking Temperatures
  • Never partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later.
  • After grilling meat and poultry, keep it hot until served — at 140 °F or warmer. Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook. If you are at home, the cooked meat can be kept hot in an oven set at approximately 200 °F, in a chafing dish or slow cooker, or on a warming tray.
  • Never use the same plate or utensils for raw and cooked meats. Harmful bacteria present in raw meat and their juices can contaminate safely cooked food. You can either use a clean plate for the cooked meat or wash the one that held the raw meat.

When Storing leftovers:

  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly after cooking (within two hours; one hour if the temperature is above 90 °F) and eat within 3-4 days. If frozen, consume within four months.

For a delicious recipe that is perfect for summer grilling season, try Asian Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple.

Tips adapted from the USDA’s Grilling Food Safety 101: www.foodsafety.gov

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