A Safe BBQ is a Fun BBQ

Jennifer Seleem useGathering of friends and families for a BBQ is one of the highlights of summer for many. Not only is the food delicious, but the company is what makes it worthwhile. During these hot, summer months it is important that food is handled safely to make sure family and friends enjoy the food in a safe manner. When throwing the “BBQ of the summer” make sure to follow these tips to keep your friends and family protected from foodborne illnesses.

Wash your hands

    • It should take a total of 20 seconds to wash hands including wetting hands, washing/scrubbing

Safely thaw and marinate foods

    • Thaw food in refrigerator (35- 40°F), running water (70°F), microwave to cook immediately after thawing, or thaw food as part of the cooking process
    • Marinate food in refrigerator not at room temperature

Prevent cross contamination

    • Keep raw foods separate from cooked foods. Do not put on the same plate.

Use a thermometer

    • Check temperatures and make sure foods stay in the ‘safe temperature’ zone.

Check temperatures of food before serving to ensure safe minimum internal temperature

    • 165°F- Poultry, Stuffed dishes, Casseroles, Reheated leftovers
    • 160°F- Ground meat and Egg Dishes
    • 145°F- Fish, Seafood, Beef, Steaks, Chops, Pork, Lamb
    • 140°F- cooked vegetables, grains (rice, pasta), legumes
    • <40°F- cold foods (fruits, vegetables, drinks)

Beware of temperature danger zone (41°F -140°F)

    • Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot
    • Keep foods out of the temperature danger zone! Temperature danger zones are the temperatures in which bacteria and viruses are more likely to grow. (41°F -140°F)
    • Cold food should not go above 41°F degrees and hot foods should not go under 140°F.
    • Bring a cooler to keep fresh fruits and vegetables cool while cooking. Cold foods should be held below 40°F
    • Use a large bowl filled with ice to keep cold dishes cold like cole slaw, potato salads, etc…
    • Hot food should remain on the grill or on warmers until ready to be served. Hot food should be kept at 140°F or above

Keep leftovers out of the danger zone

    • Chill leftovers within two hours and divide into shallow containers for quick cooling. Never leave food out for more than 1 hr., when the temperature is above 90°F
    • If in doubt, throw it out! If you are not sure how long food has been left out, or not sure of the temperature, throw it out. Foodborne illness can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, fever and those are just a few uncomfortable symptoms. It is not worth that last piece of food!

This summer enjoy your time with friends and family, but make safety a priority! Following these tips will help minimize the growth of bacteria and viruses in food making the BBQ a safe and enjoyable event for everyone. Enjoy!

Jennifer Seleem is a registered dietitian/nutritionist with the Institute for Weight Loss at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center-Old Bridge. The Institute provides weight loss surgery and support for individuals seeking weight loss and have been unable to lose weight through conventional dieting, exercise or weight loss medication. To attend a free seminar, which occurs twice monthly, call 855-TIME-4-ME. For more information on food safety, visit www.fsis.usda.gov/shared/PDF/Danger_Zone.pdf

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