LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Before our 4th of July celebrations get underway, you need to make sure you think about food safety. Here are some tips from the FDA to prevent food-borne bacteria:
- Before you even get your food on the grill, make sure it’s transported safely. If it’s cold, keep it cold. Refrigerated food should be stored in a cooler at 40 degrees or below, especially meat.
- Try to limit the amount the times the cooler is opened. If people are constantly going in and out for drinks, the food will quickly start to warm up, causing bacterial growth. Think about packing separate coolers one for drinks, one for food.
- Don’t cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat and seafood wrapped up. You don’t want liquids running off onto vegetables or other foods that are eaten raw.
- If you’re someone that likes to partially cook food before you bring it over to the party or cookout, you might want to reconsider. Partial cooking should only occur if you can take it directly out to the grill. Bacteria quickly grows on meat that isn’t fully cooked.
- On the same note, make sure you cook your food thoroughly. Buying a meat thermometer is the smartest way to do it. Chicken and other poultry should reach 165 degrees, while 160 degrees works for most other meats.
Overall, when grilling out, remember these four steps: clean, separate, cook, and chill.
Clean your hands, food and surfaces, separate raw meats from other foods, cook your food thoroughly, and chill (refrigerate) your leftovers.