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June 2016 - Get Your Grill on Safely This Summer

June 2016 - Get Your Grill on Safely This Summer

The sun is out and temperatures are already soaring, which means it’s summertime. The most popular time for grilling. We think about sunblock and protecting our skin and firework safety, but we can’t forget about protecting our loved ones from foodborne illnesses. As we get ready for the 4th of July and other summer cookouts, it’s important to remember food safety when it comes to grilling for friends and family. We’re going to serve up some grilling tips to keep everyone safe this summer. 

Getting It Home:

  • Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours. Refrigerate within 1 hour when the temperature is above 90◦
  • At home, place meat and poultry in the refrigerator immediately. Freeze poultry and ground meat that won't be used in 1 or 2 days; freeze other meat within 4 to 5 days.

Thaw Safely:

  • Completely thaw meat and poultry before grilling, so it cooks more evenly.
  • Use the refrigerator for slow, safe thawing or thaw sealed packages in cold water.
  • For quicker thawing, you can microwave defrost if the food will be placed immediately on the grill.

Grilling Tips for Summer


  • Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
  • Poultry and cubed meat or stew meat can be marinated up to 2 days.
  • Beef, veal, pork, and lamb roasts, chops and steaks may be marinated up to 5 days.
  • If some of the marinade is to be used as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion of the marinade before putting raw meat and poultry in it.
  • If the marinade used on raw meat or poultry is to be reused, make sure to let it come to a boil first to destroy any harmful bacteria.


  • When carrying food to another location, keep it cold to minimize bacterial growth.
  • Use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice or ice packs to keep the food at 40 °F or below.
  • Pack food right from the refrigerator into the cooler immediately before leaving home.

Keep Cold Food Cold:

  • Keep meat and poultry refrigerated until ready to use.
  • Only take out the meat and poultry that will immediately be placed on the grill.
  • When using a cooler, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter.
  • Avoid opening the lid too often, which lets cold air out and warm air in.
  • Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in a separate cooler.

Keep Everything Clean:

  • Be sure there are plenty of clean utensils and platters.
  • DO NOT use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry.
  • Use clean cloths or moist towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands.


  • Precooking food partially in the microwave, oven or stove is a good way of reducing grilling time. Just make sure that the food goes immediately on the preheated grill to complete cooking.

Cook Thoroughly:

  • Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.
  • Whole poultry: 165 °F
  • Poultry breasts: 165 °F
  • Ground poultry: 165 °F
  • Ground meats: 160 °F
  • Beef, pork, lamb, and veal (steaks, roasts and chops): 145 °F and allow to rest at least 3 minutes.
  • Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.
  • NEVER partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later.

Keep Hot Food Hot:

  • After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served — at 140 °F or warmer.
  • Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook.
  • Cooked meat can be kept hot in an oven set at approximately 200 °F, in a chafing dish or slow cooker or on a warming tray.

Serving the Food:

  • Always use a fresh, clean plate and tongs for serving cooked food. Never reuse items that touched raw meat or poultry to serve the food once it is cooked.
  • In hot weather (above 90 °F), food should never sit out for more than 1 hour


  • When reheating fully cooked meats like hot dogs, grill to 165 °F or until steaming hot.


  • Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers.
  • Discard any food left out more than 2 hours (1 hour if temperatures are above 90 °F).

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