Cooking outdoors is a much-loved summer activity shared with family and friends, but careful handling of food is essential to reducing harmful bacteria that can multiply and cause food-borne illness.
Wash your hands: proper hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent food-borne illness. Wash your hands often for at least 15-20 seconds in warm soapy water. Wash your hands before, after, and between handling different foods – and especially after visiting the washroom.
Wash and sanitize everything that touches food: plates, cutlery, pans, utensils, coolers and food preparation surfaces. Washing removes the grease, debris and food particles. Sanitizing kills the bacteria that cause food-borne illness.
Keep food cool: bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature, so keep potentially hazardous foods in the refrigerator or cooler until you are ready to cook. Ensure refrigerators and coolers are kept at a temperature of 4°C or lower and keep freezers at -18°C or lower.
Separate raw and cooked foods:
Keep raw and cooked foods separated and covered to prevent cross contamination.
Don’t cut vegetables or other ready-to-eat foods on the same cutting boards that raw meat has been on without thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the knife and cutting board first.
Handle raw meats and poultry with care:
Never thaw meats on the counter. Thaw meats in the refrigerator, under cold running water, as part of the cooking process or in the microwave if you cook it immediately after.
Meat thawing in a refrigerator should be placed on a lower shelf than ready-to-eat food to prevent cross-contamination from dripping juices.
Never put cooked meats back on the same plate that had raw meat on it.
Washing meat is not recommended; this may lead to cross contamination of nearby surfaces and food.
Keep meat and poultry in the fridge or cooler until you are ready to cook.
Marinate meat in the refrigerator – NEVER on the counter. If you wish to use marinade to enhance the flavor of cooked meat, save a portion of marinade in the refrigerator that has not been in contact with the raw meat. Do not use leftover marinade from the raw meat on cooked meat.
Never partially cook meats and then finish cooking later.
Cook it right:
- Clean the grill thoroughly with a wire brush.
- Preheat barbeque on high before cooking to kill any bacteria lingering on the grill, then reduce heat to desired setting.
- Use a probe thermometer to ensure food reaches a safe minimum internal temperature (remember to clean and sanitize the thermometer between uses).
Serve it up: serve food immediately after grilling, or keep food hot at 60°C or hotter in a slow cooker, oven, or on the side of the grill rack until ready to be served. Keep salads and perishable foods in the refrigerator or cooler until you are ready to serve. Keep serving bowls covered.
Take care with leftovers: refrigerate leftovers promptly in shallow covered containers. Discard food if it is left out for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour in hot weather). Eat properly handled leftovers within 2-3 days. Reheat fully cooked meats and other pre-cooked, perishable foods to an internal temperature of 74°C and serve promptly.
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