Now that temperatures are on the rise, so is your risk of contracting a food-borne illness. These safe food preparation tips are from the American Dietetic Association, in conjunction with ConAgra Foods:
- To reduce the spread of bacteria, use hot, soapy water to clean your grill before cooking each meal.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before, during and after food preparation. If you are on the go, pack moist towelettes or a hand sanitizer in the cooler.
- Thaw frozen foods in the fridge or microwave. Never defrost food on the kitchen countertop or outside.
- Marinate foods in the refrigerator, and never reuse any marinade that has touched raw meat or poultry (it’s a good idea to make separate batches for marinating and then basting food!).
- Refrigerate all foods immediately below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (°F). Keep your cooler stocked with ice packs or plenty of ice to last during parties. Freeze bottles of water, and use them to keep the rest of the food in the cooler cool. Buy and use a food thermometer to make sure the cooler stays cold. Transport the cooler in your air-conditioned car, not in the hot trunk.
- Clean out your cooler with plenty of soap and water after each use.
- Keep raw meat or poultry in separate dishes from other foods, to prevent cross-contamination. The same goes for utensils; use different forks, knives and spoons to taste, stir and serve the cooked food.
- Use a meat thermometer when grilling, to ensure hamburgers are cooked to 160°F, chicken is cooked to 170°F and hotdogs are reheated to 160°F. Never partially grill meat or chicken for further cooking at a later time.
- Don’t leave cooked food outside in hot weather (90°F or higher) for more than 1 hour. Throw away any perishable food that has been unrefrigerated for more than 1 hour.