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Labor Day grilling safety tips
Whether you’re headed out to Juanita Beach Park, Lake Washington or having a party at home, Labor Day is the last chance for many to enjoy the sun and BBQ before summer comes to an end.
Before you fire up the grill, it is important to remember to take a few precautions to keep everyone healthy and safe. No one wants food-borne illness to ruin their get-together.
Follow these tips for safer grilling:
1. Think twice about that metal bristle brush you use to clean off your grill. Make sure it doesn’t leave any coarse bristles behind on the grill. If ingested, they have the potential to cause serious harm in your intestine. Always double-check that your grill is clean and bristle-free.
2. Thawing should be done in the fridge not on the counter or sink. Leaving food out to thaw to room temperature could cause food-borne illness. This includes foods that are marinating; these too should be kept in the fridge.
3. After raw meat has finished marinating, throw out the marinade sauce. Don’t use it for basting foods while cooking. Why? Because you are cross-contaminating cooked meats with fluids that once had raw meat in them, and this could lead to food-borne illnesses. What to do instead? Keep some fresh marinade separate to use only for basting.
4. The plate you used to carry out your meat or the utensil you used to transfer your meat to the grill needs to be washed with soap before using again. Why? Contamination of the cooked meat could occur when using the plate or utensil used to carry out the raw meat.
5. Cook meats to safe temperatures. Guessing when your meat is done is not good enough. Instead, use a thermometer to check for proper temperatures (from www.foodsafety.gov):
• Poultry: 165 degrees F
• Ground meats: 160 degrees F
• Beef, pork, lamb or veal: 145 degrees F, rest 3 minutes
• Fish 145 degrees F or until fish flesh is opaque and flakes apart easily
• Shrimp: cook until flesh is opaque
6. Refrigerate leftovers immediately so nothing sits out too long.
Here’s to safe and happy grilling on Labor Day!
Kristal Lowe is a registered dietician at Pacific Medical Centers and practices at the Canyon Park, Lynnwood, Northgate and Totem Lake clinics. She completed her undergraduate studies at Seattle Pacific University with a bachelor of science in Nutrition and Dietetics, followed by an internship at Oregon Health & Science University in Dietetics. For more information or to make an appointment with Kristal, visit www.PacMed.org or call (206) 505-1300.