The summer months are all about fun in the sun, and as such many people like to head out and eat and cook outside. While there is nothing easier to do, and harder to master, than the art of cooking on a grill or ‘barbecuing,’ staying safe while doing so can be a whole other matter. Of course there is the risk of burns being caused by the hot coals or open flame, the risk of dangerous gases leaking into the breathing air, and the risk of small children getting a hold of dangerous cooking objects, but on top of all those concerns is the threat of food poisoning. After many summer cookouts guests attribute their stomach discomfort to things like overeating or drinking alcohol, but in many cases a mild to moderate case of food poisoning may be the real culprit. In some cases, however, the damage can be severe enough to merit hospitalization, or may even be deadly. In order to prevent a summer barbecue tragedy during your next pig roast or luau, follow these easy steps to keep you and your guests happy and healthy.
Wash your hands! Although it may sound simple enough, when you have lots of guests and things going on, it can be easy to touch a 100 things between a hand wash and the next time you put your hands on food. Immediately before preparing or serving food wash your hands with soap and warm water. Be sure to count for 20 to 30 seconds to get all the germs off there, and place ample soap or even hand sanitizer around the house. Remember, for the best home security hand sanitizer is an alright alternative, but should never be thought to replace actual washing with warm soap and water.
Cook to the right temperature! While it may already seem overwhelming to get everyone’s burger just right to the amateur chef, the dangers lurking behind undercooked meat can spell disaster. Keep your guest health and home security high by preventing germs like E-coli and salmonella from spreading from undercooked meats or chicken. Always check temperatures with a meat thermometer to be sure, cooking chicken and leftover foods to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, hamburgers to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit, pork to at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and hot dogs to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use fresh plates and utensils. While doing dishes may seem a real pain, or using too many paper plates a real waste, reusing plates or even metal utensils that have touched raw meats can be disastrous when it come to food poisoning. The same germs which have just been cooked out can threaten your guests’ health and your home security by finding their way right back into your food. If you are unsure if a plate has already been used for raw meat, chicken, or seafood then either wash it to toss it. The potentially deadly conditions caused by these germs are not worth the risk under any circumstances!