According to Health Canada, there are an estimated 11 million cases of food-related illness in Canada each year—many that could be prevented by proper food prep and handling. Here are some tips on how to make sure your next barbecue bash is something to remember for all the right reasons.
– Never defrost meat at room temperature. Defrost meat in the refrigerator, in a sink filled with cold water, or in the microwave.
– Always refrigerate perishable foods, including luncheon meats and potato and pasta salads, within two hours of purchase or prep. (In hot weather, one hour.) Toss leftovers that have been sitting in the sun or heat for an hour or more.
– Never place cooked food on an unwashed platter that previously held raw meat, chicken or seafood. If you only have one, make sure it is washed with hot, soapy water before reuse.
– Always use a digital food thermometer to ensure meats are cooked to a safe temperature. Don’t try to guess doneness by appearance alone. Fish should be cooked to an internal temperature of 70°C (158°F), burgers, pork and steaks (medium) to 71°C (160°F); and chicken pieces to 74°C (165°F). For a complete list of recommended cooking temperatures, visit hc-sc.gc.ca.
Once you’ve reviewed your summer BBQ safety, it wouldn’t hurt to look over the basics before firing up for your feast!