Food Safety Tips for Cookouts and Tailgates

Cookouts are a football Sunday tradition, but without attention to food safety, food poisoning and emergency care can also become recurrent features of your celebration. Don’t let foodborne illnesses put a damper on your cookouts. Keep food poisoning at bay with this advice.

Avoid Marinating Mistakes

Marinades are common in cookouts, since they give grilled meats a serious flavor boost. When not handled properly, however, marinades can be ground zero for food poisoning. Meat should always be refrigerated when it is being marinated, and marinade should be discarded after use. Even though the meat is cooking, using a marinade as a baste is dangerous because it may not be sufficiently heated before serving. If you want to use a marinade as a sauce for cooked meat, either boil it or make a separate batch specifically for serving.

Watch the Clock

Timing is everything when it comes to food safety. Don’t eat perishable foods that have been outside for more than two hours in temperatures under 90 degrees F or one hour in higher temperatures. Cook all meat long enough to kill bacteria. If you’re not sure about cooking times, invest in a meat thermometer and check out the proper temperature for the meat you’re cooking on the FDA website .

Wash Up

Rinse off fresh fruits and veggies before serving them, even if the skin or rind won’t be eaten. If the fruit or vegetable is firm, use a vegetable brush to scrub it while it is under the running water. Dry fruits and veggies thoroughly, especially if you plan to pack them up and transport them before serving them. In addition to washing produce, be sure to wash your hands before you start cooking and immediately after handling raw meat.

If a medical emergency does occur, the ER at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is here around the clock to help. Choose us when you need emergency care in West Hills, and call (818) 676-4321 for more information about our services.

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