Summer Food Safety
- Food should be marinated in the refrigerator and stored in non-reactive containers such as glass or in sealable plastic bags. Always discard the marinade after use, since it will be contaminated by the raw meat. Keep dishes with raw meats, or that contained raw meats, away from other food. So don’t put the cooked meat on the same plate that held the meat before it was grilled.
- During preparation, keep meats and other foods separate. Use separate utensils and cutting boards, washing them in hot soapy water afterwards.
- Cook meat to a safe internal temperature. This is especially important for chicken, pork and hamburgers, where the risk of food-borne illness is greatest. Chicken must be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees (170 degrees for bone-in breasts). Pork and hamburgers to 160 degrees. Lamb and beef steaks can be grilled to lower temperatures, where pinkness is actually desirable. If you like your lamb or beef rare, 140 degrees will be fine. Test for doneness a few minutes before the stated time. Grilling time may be altered by external factors--principally the weather.
- Keep cold foods cold. Bring out the salads when you need them. Keep them on ice if you can, or monitor how long they remain unrefrigerated. Once food has been out of the refrigerator or cooler for two hours, toss it. In hot weather, that time is reduced to one hour.
- No double-dipping! Once that spoon or fork has been in your mouth, don’t use it to scoop from the serving bowls. It’s obvious, but sometimes these rules are broken when we’re with family and friends.
Finally, have a wonderful time with your family and friends, and enjoy those long summer evenings. They pass all too quickly.