It’s Summer and the weather is HOT and perfect for barbecuing! As with all types of cooking, it is important to remember to follow proper food safety guidelines when providing BBQs for the Residents and our families at home this summer. Proper food handling will ensure harmful bacteria does not spread, causing foodborne illness.
Here are some helpful tips, outlined by the Government of Canada, to keep in mind while barbecuing:
- Keep raw meat away from other foods, including vegetables and other toppings.
- Always use separate utensils/cutting boards/plates when handling both raw and cooked meats- Do NOT place cooked meats on the same plate used to bring out the raw meats; this may cause cross contamination of bacteria, leading to foodborne illness.
- WASH YOUR HANDS, WASH YOUR HANDS, WASH YOUR HANDS- with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after touching any foods, especially raw meat.
- Ensure raw meat is cooked to the correct internal temperature. Heat from the BBQ is hot enough to kill most bacteria, however, when barbecuing, the meat can give the appearance of being cooked before all the bacteria is killed.
- For Hamburgers, it is a good idea to place the food thermometer through the side of the burger patty until it reaches the middle. It is also important to check the temperature of every burger due to uneven cooking on the BBQ.
REMEMBER: Sanitize the thermometer with an alcohol swab or with warm soapy water between each temperature reading to eliminate the risk of cross contamination.
- If there are left overs, keep food out of the danger zone, 4°C to 60°C (40°F to 140°F). Toppings requiring refrigeration, such as cheese, should be left on ice. On hot summer days, it is a good idea to not leave food baking in the sun! Cool left over foods properly in shallow pans/inserts and place in the fridge as soon as possible. Food should not be left out for more than an hour. As the saying goes, “When in Doubt, Throw it Out!”
- Lastly, remember to turn the BBQ and propane off and, when cool enough to touch, clean and sanitize the BBQ, cooking utensils and work station with appropriate sanitizing solution.