Picnic Food Safety

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Every summer, most everything moves outside - including our meals. We’ll savor a cup of coffee on the front porch or enjoy lunch on the deck. The grill has replaced the stove. But whether you’re cooking dinner on the backyard grill or tailgating at the local ballpark, keep food safety at the top of your list.

When you’re grilling at home, keep a few things in mind. Start by washing your hands and remember to wash them after you’ve handled food – especially raw beef, chicken or pork. Make sure you’ve grilled your beef, chicken or pork to the proper internal temperature. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the cut (not touching the bone, if there is one) will give you most accurate results. Don’t let the marinade you used on your raw meat touch cooked food unless you’ve boiled it. Place your grilled foods on a clean plate or serving platter; not the one you used to carry the raw meat to the grill.

If you’re taking that show on the road to a picnic or a tailgate, the game changes just a bit. Make sure you’ve kept the raw foods that need to be cooked away from the prepared foods that are ready to eat, so no contamination occurs. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Discard leftovers if you’re worried they’ve sat out too long (more than an hour on a 90-degree day) or if they’ve been possibly exposed to any contamination.

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