Whether indoors or outdoors, food safety matters

Follow these simple food safety tipsHere's some food safety tips for when you're outside having fun in the backyard grilling . You need to be aware that outside far more than when indoors there is a hazard to your food, and your health. Follow the food safety tips outlined below for a happy and healthy grilling season.

Food safety tips for when you're cooking

It's important to cook your food to the proper internal temperature, don't rely on how it looks.  The fact is, over hot coals, all food looks done even after a few minutes, this isn't true. Simply checking that the juices have turned from red to grey is absolutely not a sure fire way to tell if meat is cooked to the proper internal temperature.

Germs like E-Coli and Salmonella can be present in undercooked foods, these germs can cause severe illness and even death. If cooking wild game there's a real possibility of parasites being present.  Follow these food safety tips to prevent that.

  • Chicken 165 degrees
  • Hamburgers 160 degrees
  • Pork 150 degrees
  • Hot Dogs 140 degrees
  • Other foods 140 degrees

Always use a thermometer to check if the food is fully cooked. Insert the thermometer into the center of the meat, avoiding any bones and check the temperature.  And please clean the thermometor before using it!

Always wash your hands before handling raw foods, especially meat. This is one of the most important food safety tips I can give.  Cross contamination is a reality, there's a reason a chef will get fired for not following this simple food safety rule.

Foods safety tips when handling food

Here's some common sense food safety tips for when you're actually handling uncooked food.

  • Always wash your hands before handling any food, cooked or uncooked.
  • Always assume your hands are dirty if you leave the food prep area and return, that means wash them again.
  • Wipe all food preparation surfaces clean with a solution of one cap full of bleach to one gallon of water
  • Keep flies away by disposing of all meat wrappers and packing materials.
  • Do NOT spray insect repellent anywhere near the food!

Pretty straight forward stuff. Basically assume everything is dirty (including yourself) and wash and sanitize everything. Properly dispose of trash immediately to keep pests away.

Food safety tips when serving food

Here's some food safety tips to use when actually serving cooked food.

  • Always serve the cooked foods first, then place out the refrigerated (cold) foods. It really doesn't make sense to leave that wonderful potato salad baking in the sun for an hour while your burgers cook.
  • Use tongs to serve any food. Avoid touching food.
  • Again, wash your hands!
  • Refrigerate leftovers immediately

Additional food safety tips to keep you healthy this summer

  • Wipe all surfaces clean and wash your hands often
  • Don't keep food containers in the sun, find some shade, or better yet, in a cooler
  • Marinate foods in the fridge, not in a container by the grill
  • Pack plenty of cleaning supplies like paper towels and disinfectant
  • Don't prepare food if you're sick, that's not cool
  • Tie your hair back, nobody likes cooked hair on their burger
  • Use seperate cutting boards for cooked and uncooked foods

So there you have it, some simple, but important food safety tips to keep you and your friends and family happy and healthy this grilling season.