In the US the grilling season will be in full swing with the Independence Day celebrations occurring during the week. The USDA in its blog notes the increased grilling and picnics corresponds to a “food related illnesses spike in the summer months.”The USDA provides four-tips to keep grillers safe over the holiday. The Agency also breaks down a few common myths. For example, many people rely on the color of grilled burgers to determine whether they are safe to eat. The USDA explains this a myth with data showing that “1 our of every 4 hamburgers turns brown before it reached a safe internal temperature.” The Agency recommends a thermometer as the only way to know that cooked meat is safe to eat. A report from the FDA shows that only 23% of Americans who own a food thermometer use one. Perhaps, this July 4th is a great time to build a new food-safety habit!The tips are below; to learn more read the USDA’s special July 4th blog post here.
- Clean: Make sure you clean all surfaces, utensils, and hands with soap and water.
- Separate: When grilling, use separate plates and utensils for raw meat and cooked meat and ready-to-eat foods (like raw vegetables) to avoid cross-contamination.
- Cook: Cook foods to the right temperature by using a food thermometer. That’s the only way to know it’s a safe temperature. Remember, burgers should be cooked to 160°F.
- Chill: Chill raw and prepared foods promptly if not consuming after cooking. You shouldn’t leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours (or 1 hour if outdoor temperatures are above 90° F), so if you’re away from home, make sure you bring a cooler to store those leftovers.
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