Dietetic association offers summer food safety tips

May 24, 2011

Chicago – As more Americans barbecue and picnic during the summer months, the risk of food poisoning increases, the American Dietetic Association cautions.

“Expert grillers will want to practice proper food safety habits anywhere food is prepared, not just in your kitchen,” said Jim White, registered dietitian and ADA spokesperson. “Whether it’s a picnic, barbecue or potluck, it’s important to apply the same home food safety techniques to help keep you and your guests safe from foodborne illness.”

To keep food safe while cooking this summer, ADA recommends:

  • Cooks should wash their hands often in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds. A bottle of hand sanitizer can be used when soap and water are not readily available.
  • Scrub the grill, outdoor utensils, coolers and other containers with hot soapy water before use.
  • Use paper towels to clean up spills – reusing dishtowels can spread harmful bacteria.
  • Keep raw meat and ready-to-eat foods separate. Do not baste cooked meat with the same brush used to baste raw meat, and always boil marinade before using it to season cooked meat.
  • Use a thermometer to ensure food is cooked to its proper temperature. Steaks should be cooked to at least 145° F, hamburgers to 160° F and chicken to 165° F.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers promptly at 40° F. Do not allow food to sit out longer than one hour on extremely hot days.