Barbecue Basics: Prevent Foodborne Illness

WASHINGTON, June 16 (UPI) — Food bacteria multiply fastest in warm summer temperatures, so keeping food safe at barbecues and picnics can be a challenge, a U.S. food expert says.

“Fortunately, there are a lot of steps consumers can take to keep family and friends from becoming ill,” Marjorie Davidson of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, says in a statement.

Step one, Davidson says, is washing hands well and often. Consider carrying moist disposable towelettes when eating outdoors.

Another step is keeping raw food separate from cooked food. Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Never reuse marinade used for raw meat. Reserve a separate portion of unused marinade for sauce, Davidson says.

Davidson advises cooking food — especially meat — with care, using a thermometer. Partially cook food to reduce grilling time immediately before putting it on the hot grill, she advises.

Also important is keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Food should not be left out of a cooler or off the grill for more than one hour when temperatures rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, Davidson warns.

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