May Two-Four is almost upon us - meaning BBQ season is officially ON! Here's a tip sheet from HSW on Barbecue food safety:
Barbecue season has begun! The following food safety tips were adapted from a Health Canada Information Update. Also...make sure to stay abreast of food recalls. E. coli andSalmonella recalls associated with meat products are not that uncommon this time of the year. Don't forget that pathogens like E. coli can survive freezing...so even frozen meat can harbor dangerous bacteria. JA Barbecue related foodborne pathogensEating undercooked meat and other foods that have come into contact with raw meat can result in foodborne illnesses. Symptoms vary by organism, but can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, dizziness and neck stiffness. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems may be more at risk. Common barbecue related foodborne pathogens include E. coli,Salmonella and Campylobacter.
You can help lower your risk of foodborne illness by handling and cooking raw meat carefully.
Storing•Raw meat should always be stored in the refrigerator or cooler at 4ºC (40ºF) or below. •If you are storing raw meat in a cooler, make sure that it is packed with ice and the cooler stays out of direct sunlight. Avoid opening it too often. Ensure meat products are well sealed and that ice water doesn't come in contact with stored meat products. This can lead to cross-contamination. •Make sure to keep raw meat and other foods separate to avoid cross-contamination.
Clean•Remember to wash your hands and other utensils, like cutting boards, counters and knives, carefully with soap and warm water before and after handling raw meats. This helps avoid potential cross-contamination and prevent the spread of foodborne illness.
When you grill•Colour alone is not a reliable indicator that meat is safe to eat. Meat can turn brown before all bacteria are killed, so use a digital food thermometer to be sure.
•To check the temperature of meat that you are cooking on the barbecue, take the meat off the grill and insert the digital food thermometer through the thickest part of the meat.
•If you are cooking a beef hamburger, take the patty from the grill and insert the digital food thermometer through the side, all the way to the middle of the patty.
•If you're cooking more than one patty or pieces of meat, be sure to check the temperature of each of the pieces.
•Use clean utensils and plates when removing cooked meats from the grill.
•Remember to wash the thermometer in hot, soapy water between temperature readings.
•Always remember to keep hot food hot until you are ready to serve.Always follow these safe internal temperatures to make sure that the food that you are cooking is safe to eat
It is estimated that there are approximately 11 million cases of food-related illnesses in Canada every year. Many of these illnesses could be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation techniques.