Public Health Inspector Urges Outdoor Cooking or Tailgating Food Safely
by Jim Chan. #foodsafety #publichealth #BBQsafety.
Everyone loves outdoor cooking such as a BBQ or tailgating where food is prepared and enjoyed near the back of a car or truck in the parking lot of a sporting, music or other large event. Unfortunately, so do nasty germs that can make people sick. With the free and easy feel of outdoor grilling, it’s easy to forget that the rules of safe food handling we use indoors still apply outdoors. In fact, cases of food-borne illness increase significantly during the summer months and outdoor cooking is suspected of being a major cause of the problem.
Remember food safety when cooking outdoor or tailgating
To prevent illness, Dr. Justin Beaver from the Health Inspector's Notebook Comic recommends you to follow the 4-Step Food Safety Guide.
Also wash and sanitize utensils, food containers, plates and cutting boards that come in contact with uncooked food to remove harmful bacteria.
Always sanitize utensils and food contact surfaces with a bleach-water solution (5 ml/1 tsp of bleach with 750 ml/3 cups of water).
SeparateRaw meat and their juices can contain harmful bacteria and can transfer to cooked food, so avoid cross contamination.
Keep food covered whenever possible to protect it from contamination, as well as preventing contaminants from insects and birds dropping onto food. (Tip: Use plastic food containers Reusing plastic food containers). Store raw and cooked food in separate containers and bring extra clean utensils to handle raw and cooked food separately;
Heat kills harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli so rawmeat must be cooked thoroughly to a safe internal temperature.
When checking the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and seafood, always use a probe food thermometer to ensure food has reached a safe internal cooking temperature as indicated in the Cooking and Reheating Temperatures for Hazardous Foods chart from Toronto Public Health (Photo on right).
For ground beef burger, be sure to cook to an internal temperature of at least 71°C (160°F) and till the juice runs clear.
For chicken pieces, cook to at least 74°C (165°F).
Harmful bacteria love the danger zone between 4°C to 60°C (40°F to 140°F). Always keepfood cold at 4°C (40°F) until cooking and the same for storing leftovers. keep hot food hot to at least 60°C (140°F) after cooking and never keep food in the danger zone for too long. Food can spoil easily and bacteria can grow fast in the danger zone and can increase the risk of food-borne illness.
More food safety tips
Leftover food: Cool food by using shallow containers as it cools quickly and put them in the cooler or refrigerator. Discard any food left out at room temperature (Danger Zone) for more than
two hours, however, on hot summer days, avoid keeping food out for more than one hour.
When in doubt, throw it out!
Keep a can of water boiling on the grill to clean and sanitize cooking utensils such as tongs,
forks between contacting raw meats and cooked meats and other food cooking on the grill. Boiling water is the best to keep utensil clean especially when there is no running water nearby when cooking outdoor (Photo - right).
Also, the hot water can wash off grease and sauce from the tip of the tongs making it easier to handle meats on the grill and much easier for the person washing dishes to remove caked on grease, sauce and food from the utensils later.
Avoid the Danger Zone
Temperatures in between 5 °C / 41 °F to 60 °C / 135 ºF are in the Danger Zone.