Food Poisoning: Safely Preparing Foods For An Enjoyable Barbecue
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Food Poisoning: Safely Preparing Foods For An Enjoyable Barbecue

Food poisoning is becoming more and more prevalent and this article will give you some simple suggestions on what you can do to keep your food bacteria free.

We all love barbecues; the grilled food, friendly conversation, and enjoying the outdoors.  What should be a fun event can go bad very quickly if proper handling of food is not followed.

Food poisoning is no laughing matter and will probably affect every individual at some point in their life. Food poisoning from salmonella, E. coli, and staphylococcus are the most common bacterias and with food recalls happening more frequently, we're all subject to food-borne illnesses which can range from a mild case to death. Having a serious illness from food poisoning is no laughing matter and there are several things that you can do to help eliminate bacteria from making your barbecue a nightmare.

Wash Your Hands

We hear this many times during flu season, however, it should be practiced every day, all year round and especially in the kitchen.  Keeping your hands clean as you handle food, especially raw meat is advice that should not be taken lightly. You should never handle raw meat or fish and then touch fruit or vegetables without washing your hands. Always wash your hands after handling any type of raw meat, fish, or poultry.

Wash Your Food

Likewise, before preparing any type of food, wash each food as they may contain different bacterias. It's best to wash your food in groups; all the veggies, then all the fruit, then all the meat. Wash your hands in-between each food group except the raw meats. In other words, wash all the veggies first then wash your hands before handling raw meat. When you wash the raw meat, however, wash in-between each different type of meat; for instance, wash all the hot dogs first, wash your hands, then wash the chicken pieces. It's important to not contaminate each piece of meat with bacteria from another piece of meat, so wash the meat and then wash your hands.

Wash the Cutting Board(s)

A big mistake that many cooks make is to prepare and trim meats on a cutting board, rinse the cutting board with water, and then chop up the veggies on the same board.  According to the FDA, 21% of cooks do not wash their cutting boards after cutting raw meat on them. This easily transfers any bacteria onto the veggies and increases the risk of food poisoning. A good rule of thumb is to use two cutting boards; one for the meats and one for veggies. After you're done using them, put them in the dishwasher for a good sterile cleaning. Some agencies suggest using chlorine bleach on your cutting boards, however, the dishwasher is the easiest and one of the safest ways to clean your cutting boards.

Where'd That Plate Go?

You know the plate that had the uncooked meat on it before you put the meat on the grill?  Where'd it go? Don't use it to put the cooked meats back on the same plate. A big no-no as that plate probably has bacteria on it from the uncooked meats. After you place the meat on the grill, put that plate immediately in the dishwasher or at least in the sink. Don't put anything else on it that you plan on eating or handling.

Use Different Cooking Utensils

Another common mistake happens while grilling food. Many cooks use the same utensil to flip uncooked meats over and then do the same to corn on the cob or other veggies. You should never do this as it can transfer bacteria from the uncooked meat onto the utensil and then onto the veggies. By using two utensils, one for meat and one for veggies, you'll decrease the risk of food poisoning.

As we encounter more and more food recalls due to bacteria, it's wise for us to take action and decrease the risk of food poisoning.  These suggestions are all simple to do and will make your next barbecue a safer one.


Image Credit:  Microsoft Clip Art


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Comments (15)

Excellent tips; very important to follow safety protocols.

Smart and well presented article.Promoted since I am out of votes.

Nicely done! Some really useful tips on how to prevent food poisoning when preparing foods. Thanks for sharing Voted up!

Ranked #13 in Food Safety

Yes, poisoning is no joke. Well done for sharing this!

Useful info. Sorry, out of votes so promoted instead, thanks.

A very important subject that is often forgotten about when people discuss food poisoning - my father in law loves to bbq and I will be sure to forward this to him :)

Thanks Sandy, good advice. I would add that it's a good idea to have colored cutting boards, red for meat and green or white for veggies. Some hotels and restaurants use this system, but not many. Regardless, the cutting boards have to go in the dish washer after each use and work surfaces sanitized, as you pointed out

Ranked #4 in Food Safety

Peter, great suggestion. Thanks for your input.

You've picked the right time of year for this article! Great tips for staying safe in the summer season, voted up.

Food poising is certainly no joke. Great work.

These are just sensible tips to avoid food poisoning.

Voted up. Excellent article

Ranked #1 in Food Safety

I really liked that "Where did that plate go?" advice. I see so many people put the grilled steaks right back on the same plate that they took the raw steaks off of without washing the plate first.

Excellent info at any time of the year! Featured in JerseyNana Knows News!

Great advise, on the cutting boards, it's always best to have at least 3 cuttings boards; one for seafood, one for chicken and one for other meats....voted