Did you know July is National Grilling Month? Summer is a great time for outdoor events and activities, but it’s also peak season for foodborne illness. Follow these tips for a safe and healthy grilling season:
Raw meat, poultry, and seafood items should be the last items to go in your grocery cart. Separate these raw food items from other food in your shopping cart and grocery bags. Use individual plastic bags for each raw food item to protect against cross-contamination.
Keep meat, poultry, and seafood refrigerated until you are ready to grill. Keep these items below 40°F during transport and use an insulated cooler.
Wash your hands with soap before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Don’t forget to also wash work surfaces, utensils, and the grill before and after cooking.
Meat and poultry color is not a good indicator of safety. Use a food thermometer to check that meat is cooked enough to kill harmful germs. If you use a smoker, keep temperatures inside the smoker at 225°F to 300°F to keep meat a safe temperature while it cooks.
- 145°F – whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal (stand-time of 3 minutes at this temperature)
- 145°F – fish
- 160°F – hamburgers and other ground beef
- 165°F – all poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs
After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot at 140 °F or warmer until it’s time to serve.
Check your grill and tools
Clean the grill with a moist cloth or paper towel before cooking. Bristles from wire bristle brushes can also dislodge and stick into food the next time you cook. Check the grill’s surface before cooking to make sure no wires are stuck.
Toss marinades and sauces that have touched raw meat juices to avoid spreading germs to cooked foods. Harmful bacteria in raw meat and juices can contaminate cooked food; use clean utensils and a clean plate to remove cooked meat from the grill.
Check out My Meal Detective for short videos on these tips and learn how to prevent and report foodborne illness. For more information on grilling and general food safety, visit the VDH Food Safety page and: