Ready, set, fire up those grills to kick start the summer season! Giant Food of Landover, Md. wants to make sure your next barbecue is a safe and healthy one by sharing food safety tips to keep top of mind when grilling.
When preparing your meats for grilling, marinate in the refrigerator, not on the countertop or outdoors. If the marinade is to be used later as a sauce on the cooked food, set some of it aside in a separate container before adding the raw meat, poultry or seafood. Sauce used to marinate raw meat should be discarded and not reused.
If you partially cook food in the microwave or oven to reduce grilling time, do so immediately before food goes on the hot grill. The best way to know if meat is cooked thoroughly is to use a meat thermometer and check the temperature. Before removing from the grill, insert a meat thermometer halfway into the thickest part of the meat, making sure it does not go through to the other side. The thermometer should give a reading in about 15-20 seconds. Included below are the recommended internal temperatures that cooked meat and seafood should be to avoid harmful bacteria such as E. coli:
*Ground beef hamburgers – 160ºF. Cooking ground beef until the pink is gone is not always an indicator of thorough cooking, as it can still be pink inside and cooked to a safe 160ºF. Color is not always a true indicator.
*Ground and whole poultry – 165ºF
*Chops, steaks and roasts from beef, veal or lamb – 145ºF for medium rare, 160ºF for medium and 170ºF for well done
*Pork chops and roast – 150ºF
*Fin fish – 145ºF
*Shrimp, lobster and crabs – Cooked until the flesh is pearly and opaque
Wash your hands, cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go onto the next food. Always use a clean plate and clean utensils for serving, as cooked food should not be placed on the same plate that previously held raw foods, including meat, poultry, seafood or eggs.
Remember to refrigerate any leftovers promptly after serving and within two hours after cooking. Your refrigerator should be set to maintain a product temperature of 40°F or lower. Food should only be outside one hour when the temperature is above 90oF. When in doubt, throw it out. Leftovers should be reheated until steaming before serving.
Don’t forget to make room for veggies and fruits on the grill, too! The heat of the grill caramelizes the natural sugars, resulting in loads of flavor without the need for added sugar, salt, or fat. During the summer months, customers see an increase in locally grown produce as the local growing season is nearing its peak. Fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, corn, melon, peaches, and peppers are just some of the items Giant Food features from nearby farms. Rinse all fresh fruit and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten, and keep a separate cutting board for fresh produce to avoid cross-contamination during food preparation.
For additional grilling and food safety tips, stop into your neighborhood Giant to speak with a meat department associate or visit www.giantfood.com.