Department of Public Health
Thomas Carbone, Director of Public Health
36 Bartlet St.
Andover, MA 01810
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Andover Health Division Shares Safe Food Handling Tips for Grilling
ANDOVER — As residents prepare for barbecue and grilling season, the Andover Health Division is reminding residents of several cooking and safe food handling practices to prevent food-borne illness.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that while the food supply in the United States is among the safest in the world, there are approximately 48 million cases of foodborne illness annually, which peak during the summer months.
“Hopefully, we’ll be getting some nice grilling weather soon, and it’s important that residents are aware of proper food handling procedures to avoid getting sick,” said Andover Public Health Director Thomas Carbone. “Warmer temperatures cause bacteria to flourish, so it’s extra important to make sure all foods are cooked to and kept at the appropriate temperature, and remember to refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible.”
Follow these tips from the FDA for a safe grilling season:
Wash hands. Wash hands well and often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom and before cooking or eating. If you’re in an outdoor setting with no bathroom, use a water jug, some soap, and paper towels. Consider carrying moist disposable towelettes for cleaning your hands, or use hand sanitizer if there is no water source.
Keep raw food separate from cooked food. Do not use a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood for anything else unless the plate has first been washed in hot, soapy water. Keep utensils and surfaces clean.
Marinate food in the refrigerator, not out on the counter. If you want to use some of the marinade as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a separate portion. Do not use marinade that contacted raw meat.
Cook food thoroughly. To kill any harmful bacteria that may be present and ensure food is cooking thoroughly, use a food thermometer. Hamburgers should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If a thermometer is not available, make sure hamburgers are brown all the way through, not pink. Chicken should be cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you partially cook food in the microwave, oven or stove to reduce grilling time, do so immediately before the food goes on the hot grill. Fish should be cooked to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Refrigerate and freeze food promptly. It can be hard to remember while a party is going on, but food should not be left out of the cooler or off the grill for more than two hours. Never leave food out for more than one hour when the temperature is above 90°F.
Keep hot food hot. Hot food should be kept at or above 140°F. Hot food should be wrapped well and placed in an insulated container. If bringing hot take-out food such as fried chicken or barbecue to an outdoor party, eat it within two hours of purchase. In addition to bringing a grill and fuel for cooking to an outdoor location, remember to pack a food thermometer to check that your meat and poultry reach a safe internal temperature. When reheating food at the outing, be sure it reaches 165°F.
Keep cold food cold. Cold food should be held at or below 40°F. Foods like chicken salad and desserts that are in individual serving dishes can be placed directly on ice or in a shallow container set in a deep pan filled with ice. Drain off water as ice melts and replace ice frequently.
For more information about safe grilling and food handling practices, visit the FDA website.