Barbecue and Food Safety
Cooking outdoors was once only a summer activity shared with family and friends. Now more than half of
Americans say they are cooking outdoors year round. So whether the snow is blowing or the sun is shining
brightly, it’s important to follow food safety guidelines to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying and causing
foodborne illness. Use these simple guidelines for grilling food safely.
From the Store: Home First
When shopping, buy cold food like meat and poultry
last, right before checkout. Separate raw meat and
poultry from other food in your shopping cart. To
guard against cross-contamination — which can
happen when raw meat or poultry juices drip on
other food — put packages of raw meat and poultry
into plastic bags.
Plan to drive directly home from the grocery store.
You may want to take a cooler with ice for
perishables. Always refrigerate perishable food
within 2 hours. Refrigerate within 1 hour when the
temperature is above 90 °F.
At home, place meat and poultry in the refrigerator
immediately. Freeze poultry and ground meat that
won’t be used in 1 or 2 days; freeze other meat
within 4 to 5 days.
Completely thaw meat and poultry before grilling so
it cooks more evenly. Use the refrigerator for slow,
safe thawing or thaw sealed packages in cold water.
You can microwave defrost if the food will be placed
immediately on the grill.
A marinade is a savory, acidic sauce in which a food is
soaked to enrich its flavor or to tenderize it.
Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
Poultry and cubed meat or stew meat can be
marinated up to 2 days. Beef, veal, pork, and lamb
roasts, chops, and steaks may be marinated up to 5
days. If some of the marinade is to be used as a
sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion of the
marinade before putting raw meat and poultry in it.
However, if the marinade used on raw meat or
poultry is to be reused, make sure to let it come to a
boil first to destroy any harmful bacteria.
When carrying food to a