The Washington Times-Herald

Community News Network

May 27, 2013

Staying safe during your Memorial Day cookout

Nobody wants to start the summer with a stomach ache -- or worse. But, it probably will happen as people dust off the grill this Memorial Day weekend for the first cookout of the summer.

"When you fire up the grill to cook out this summer, make sure you are extra vigilant in taking the appropriate safe food handling steps to prevent foodborne illness," says Agriculture Department (USDA) Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen. "Foods commonly served at cookouts can carry pathogens that can make people sick -- especially those most vulnerable to foodborne illness such as young children, the elderly and pregnant women."

The most popular picnic items, including prepared salads, chicken, hamburgers or hotdogs, are at risk of contamination with foodborne bacteria. USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) says following four basic food safety steps -- clean, separate, cook and chill -- during all cooking practices can help reduce foodborne illness.

Clean

Begin your cookout with a clean slate -- literally. Wash preparation surface areas with warm soapy water, especially after contact with raw foods.

Wash your hands with soap under warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food. Make sure anyone who helps prepare food washes their hands as well.

Separate

Raw meat and juice from raw meat can contain harmful bacteria. To prevent cross-contamination, keep all raw meats and poultry separate from vegetables and cooked foods. Use different cutting boards and knives to prepare meats and vegetables.

Cook

After you've fired up the grill, remember the most important weapon in your food safety toolbox: the food thermometer. Proper heating temperatures kill foodborne bacteria. Despite what many people believe, color is not a reliable indicator of doneness.

Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often brown quickly and may appear done on the outside, but still may not have reached a safe minimum internal temperature to kill any harmful bacteria. The food thermometer gives you an accurate reading of internal temperature.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014

  • Freshman.jpg 8 crucial tips for college freshmen

    With school starting back up around the country, no one has a bigger deer-in-the-headlights look than college freshmen.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • A night in Ferguson

    For the past week in Ferguson, reporters have been using the McDonald's a few blocks from the scene of Michael Brown's shooting as a staging area. Demonstrations have blown up each night nearby.

    August 14, 2014

  • unrest.jpg Why the Ferguson police-shooting riots had little to do with Ferguson

    Riots and vandalism broke out in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. An 18-year-old black man named Michael Brown was fatally shot by police there. Brown was unarmed. It's still unclear why tensions boiled over.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drug dealers going corporate

    A top federal official on Tuesday said that 105 banks and credit unions are doing business with legal marijuana sellers, suggesting that federal rules giving financial institutions the go-ahead to provide services to dealers are starting to work.

    August 13, 2014

  • Robin_Williams.jpg Williams among many who cracked jokes while fighting depression

    Robin Williams isn't the only comedian who has struggled with a disease suffered by an estimated 350 million people worldwide. Williams, a comedian known for his manic energy, committed suicide Aug. 11 at age 63.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo