Summer Grilling Has Begun

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grilled hambergers and vegetablesMemorial Day usually starts the summer get-togethers. Many of us like using our grills in the summer months. Here are some tips to keep in mind, so that we end up serving safe foods as well as tasty foods.

One important lesson for all grillers is to remember that color is never a reliable indicator of safety and doneness. Use a food thermometer to ensure the following safe internal temperatures:

  • Cook poultry (whole or ground) to 165 F.
  • Cook beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops and roasts to 145 F. For safety and quality, allow the meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming.
  • Cook ground beef, pork, lamb and veal to 160 F.
  • Cook egg dishes to 160 F.
  • Cook fish to 145 F.
  • Don’t have a food thermometer? Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854).

Although frozen products may appear to be pre-cooked or browned, they should be handled and prepared no differently than raw products and must be grilled to appropriate temperatures. Frozen products may be labeled with phrases such as “Cook and Serve,” “Ready to Cook” and “Oven Ready” to indicate they must be cooked.

Plan ahead to give yourself plenty of time to thoroughly cook your meats. If mixing meat and vegetables such as grilling skewers the meat still needs to get to the safe internal temperature to ensure that it is safe to eat. Throw out any used marinade and clean any plates and utensils that were used on uncooked meats, seafood and fish. This can prevent any accidental cross-contamination with your final cooked foods.

Lastly, make sure to keep cooked foods hot (above 135 degrees) and cold foods cold (below 41 degrees) as you wait to eat or are waiting to store leftovers. In the summer months, foods should only be left out for one hour before being stored safely in refrigerators or coolers.

If you have food safety questions, or other food-related questions please call our office or email for help.