Page 8 - The Shores of Jupiter - August '18
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Page 8, The Shores
      Food Safety Tips For Summer Cookouts

      Eliminate The Risk Of Food                         from food or poorly washed hands to other surfaces.
      Poisoning At Your Next                             People may know that they shouldn’t use the same
                                                         platter for raw meat as they do for cooked, but almost
      Barbecue                                           half the respondents in the USDA study inadvertently
                                                         contaminated spice bottles by touching them while they
      By Jesse Hirsch                                    were preparing burgers.
        Every year, health officials see a summer spike in     So be sure to wash hands frequently while preparing
      foodborne illness, according to the U.S. Department of   food, especially after they come in contact with raw meat,
      Agriculture (USDA). For example, just this past weekend,   fish, or egg yolks. Also, clean utensils and prep surfaces
      health officials in Charlotte, N.C., announced that at least   with soapy water, and don’t use the same cutting board
      40 attendees of a cookout were hospitalized after eating   for meat and produce.
      food that appeared to be contaminated by the foodborne   Store It Safely
      pathogen Shigella.                                   Even in a cooler packed to the brim, make sure your   cooked to a safe temperature. That’s at least 145 degrees
        “Even though everyone wants to have a great time   raw meat does not come into contact with vegetables or   F for steaks, roasts, chops, and fish; 160 degrees F for
      sharing an outdoor meal with their friends,” says James E.   other foodstuffs. “Many people forget to keep everything   ground beef or pork; and 165 degrees F for poultry.
      Rogers, Ph.D., Consumer Reports director of food safety,   separated when they pack a cooler,” Rogers says.    When you use a thermometer, don’t test just one of
      “it’s crucial to observe some basic safety guidelines. No     The key step is packing with care. Place everything   the items you’re cooking – each patty or steak needs
      one wants to get sick after your party.”           in airtight, resealable containers so that they won’t leak.   its own test. And for a more accurate reading, stick the
        The USDA just released a study (PDF) on safe food   If available, you can even keep meat and seafood in a   thermometer in the side of the item rather than the top,
      handling revealing – among other things – that 97 percent   separate cooler from the rest of your food.  and make sure it reaches the center.
      of the time, consumers fail to wash their hands properly   Choose Your Protein Carefully             Serve It Promptly
      before they handle food, which can lead to the spread     Howie Velie, a chef and associate dean at the Culinary     For the sake of food safety, serve hot items right away
      of foodborne illness. In fact, county health officials in   Institute of America in New York, recommends grilling   and keep cold dishes, such as pasta or potato salad, in a
      Charlotte suspect the recent Shigella incident stemmed   lean and tender cuts of meat, which tend to heat evenly –   refrigerator or cooler until everybody’s ready to dig in.
      from improper handwashing.                         filet mignon, strip steak, chicken breasts, pork tenderloin,   They can spoil very rapidly when sitting out in the heat.
        But handwashing isn’t the only potential pitfall when   lamb chops – and seafood such as salmon and scallops.    “You especially need to watch out for creamy dishes
      it comes to summer cookouts: Meat storage, cooking     Also, if the meat is frozen, be sure to thaw it completely   that contain eggs and dairy, like coleslaw and potato
      temperatures,  and cross contaminating  your  cooking   in the  refrigerator  before  throwing  it  on the  grill.   salad,” says Rogers. “Many food poisoning incidents
      utensils are all ways that dangerous bacteria can spread.  Otherwise, it may not heat evenly and might end up with   start with items like that sitting in the hot sun.”
        Thankfully, taking a few easy precautions can mitigate   some dangerous raw bits.                    This is especially true as the thermometer creeps
      or eliminate food-safety risks. Here’s how to prep, cook,   Marinate On This                         up.  “Mayo-based  potato  salad can  last  two  hours  in
      and serve so that your meal is as safe as it is satisfying.  Always marinate your meat, poultry, or fish in the   normal temperatures, but that time is cut in half when
      Wash Your Hands The Right Way                      refrigerator; bacteria can multiply if food is left at room   the temperature tops 90 degrees,” says Adam Ghering,
        Before you prepare any food, whether you’re about   temperature for longer than two hours, Rogers says. Don’t   M.S., spokesperson for the Food Safety Education Staff
      to handle raw meat or make a salad or a dip, be extra-  attempt to use the marinade again. “Just throw it out,”   division of the USDA.
      cautious about washing your hands. The most effective   says Rogers. “It’s too risky to baste meat with it or use   Know Before You Go
      method is soap and warm water (skip the antibacterial   it as a sauce later.”                          It pays to do a little research – if your cookout will
      wipe, because it’s not more effective at killing foodborne   Take Your Meat’s Temperature            take place at a local park or beach or other location away
      pathogens and may help to promote antibiotic resistance),     Most of the respondents in the USDA study didn’t own   from home, find out whether there’s a source of clean
      and wash for at least 20 seconds.                  a meat thermometer, and of those who did, many didn’t   water and soap to wash dishes and hands. If there isn’t,
      Be Wary Of Cross-Contamination                     use it – or made common mistakes.                 bring along a jug of water, soap, and paper towels.
        The USDA study also examined incidences of cross-    Checking a protein’s doneness by looking at the color     Reprinted from Consumer Reports.
      contamination,  the  process  where  bacteria  is  spread   or touching it is not a reliable way to make sure it is
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