Summer grilling starts with food safety

By Ryne Turke on June 8 at 8:06am

West Central Illinoisans should take the time to review some important summer food safety tips before starting the picnic and barbeque season.

As the weather heats up so does food outside in the summer temperatures. This presents more opportunities for food borne bacteria to thrive and multiply.

Linda Day from Morgan County Health Department says there is a big difference between leaving food inside in the refrigerator and outside in the cooler.

“Your refrigerators in your home are going to keep your food a lot colder so you will have a longer period of time,” says Day.

“Once you have prepared that food you can keep it in your refrigerator up to seven days as long as it’s holding 41 degrees or below.”

As always, whenever you are preparing meals make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after cooking.

Day warns grillers to make sure to cook hamburgers all the way through to keep from getting sick.

“If you eat an undercooked hamburger you do have a risk of an illness called E.coli,” says Day.

“We highly recommend that you cook a hamburger to at least 155 degrees. That means that hamburger is thoroughly done and cooked. Then that will destroy the E.coli bacteria that could be in the hamburger.”

Make sure once raw meat has touched any marinate you are using to dispense of that sauce. Using the same marinate again could cause illness.

Day says food shouldn’t be left out in the open for an extended amount of time because it could spoil.

“You have up to two hours to have that food sitting out however if you are outside and that temperature is above 90 degrees we would tell you no more than one hour then that food should be discarded,” says Day.

“What we would recommend before setting it out on the picnic table is to take another container and put ice in it. That way it is keeping it cold.”

Fruits and vegetable should always be cleaned before consuming. Be sure to run them under water before packing them in the cooler.

Different types of foods should never be stored together with raw meat as this could increase the chances of cross contamination.