Ah, summer. Cookouts, picnics, coolers loaded with food...and food poisoning.
Alright, so that last one doesn’t exactly belong on a list when it comes to summertime nostalgia...but it can inadvertently become part of your adventures without proper caution.
According to some recent US Government statistics, about one out of every six people will experience some type of food-borne illness this year - and many of these people will suffer food poisoning as a result of spoiled meat products.
It’s easy to see why; your steaks, chicken breasts and seafood are highly sensitive to the elements, making them premier hosts for harmful organisms like e. coli, salmonella, and the parasite listeria.
So, when you arrive home with your future dinner menu ingredients, there are some things to keep in mind.
STAY CLEAN. Even fresh raw meat is teeming with organisms, which of course will disappear once properly cooked. In the meantime, as you prepare your meal, wash your hands and food prep zones with hot water and antibacterial soap frequently.
STAY ORGANIZED. Food prep can be chaotic, especially when you’re cooking for lots of people, but make sure throughout the process that you keep items separate from one another. Without paying attention to this, it can be all too easy for your raw meats to come into contact with surfaces near veggies and other ingredients. Make sure those not-yet-cooked items don’t encounter your fresh vegetables.
STAY COOL. This one is tough during these warm months, but it’s critical if you want to avoid poisoning yourself. Food parasites multiply at breakneck speed during warm weather, and they’ll be a lot harder to kill after that. If you’re still getting the grill fired up, or haven’t decided how to marinate your steaks, store them away in the refrigerator.
HEAT PROPERLY. Never pull your meat items off the grill or out of the oven until they’ve reached their proper bacteria-killing temperatures. Check out this helpful guide with proper temps for heating, thawing and more.
BUY QUALITY. Many people like to buy their meat products in frozen form if they’re not sure when they’ll be cooking them. This is completely acceptable, but refer back to that handy guide when it comes to thawing methods. When it comes to your fresh meat products, place your trust in a quality market; you can rest assured your dinner has been freshly prepared and, if you follow the above guidelines, not liable to make you sick!
From all of us here at Grand Champion Meats, have a fun and safe summer grilling season!