Log In

Reset Password

Outdoor barbecuing habits that increase the risk of food poisoning

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 48 million Americans get sick from foodborne illness each year, and the risk rises in summer as the warm weather boosts bacterial growth.

During barbecue season, there’s nothing like putting fresh meat on the grill and cooking it perfectly. But when it comes to food safety, one bad habit can put you and your dining party at risk for a foodborne illness.

Recently, a kitchen expert has revealed one simple safety tip that’s often ignored: preparing raw meat on a board or plate to take to the BBQ grill and then returning the cooked meat to the same surface. While it can be easily avoided and is an effortless way to reduce the risk of food poisoning, this serving mistake is prevalent.

Food Poisoning and Outdoor Grilling

According to Mert Yashar, Director at House of Worktops, it’s easy for many of us to forget essential kitchen safety tips while celebrating the warm weather. But with data showing that food poisoning cases rise in the summer months, staying on the ball is important.

Nationwide Google searches for ‘food poisoning symptoms’ rose by 60% in June 2023 alone. If that wasn’t enough to make your stomach turn, the CDC reports that one in six get sick from foodborne illness every year. Prioritizing BBQ safety is crucial ahead of the July heat wave.

According to Yashar, “The most easily-avoidable mistake that many make is laying out their raw meat in an easy-to-grab fashion on a chopping board or plate, which they then carry to the grill. They then place the cooked products back onto the same surface to be transported back inside or to an outdoor table where condiments, garnishes, and guests are waiting.”

“Just because the meat has been cooked doesn’t mean it’s safe to place it on a surface that’s previously held raw meat, as this will cause contamination. And it’s easy to forget this, as you’re likely preoccupied with not burning the meat or yourself on the grill.”

With heat waves expected with temperatures up to 120F, it’s vital that Americans ensure they avoid hosting barbecues in the sweltering heat unless they follow all food safety precautions.

Grilling-Related Burns and Cuts on The Rise

BBQ safety is not just about food contamination because grilling-related injuries have risen by 18% over the past 10 years. Two-fifths of grilling injuries occur to the upper extremities like shoulders and fingers, including cuts from sharp objects.

Things can potentially get worse once alcohol is in the mix. Accidental fires occur 124% more often between the hours of 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. than any other time during the day. Additionally, dwelling fires are 10% more prevalent in June and July than in May or August, compliments of careless grilling.

Follow these five food and fire safety tips at your next cookout to significantly lessen the risk of injury or illness.

1- Keep Raw and Cooked Meat Utensils Separate

Remember to use different plates and tongs for both raw and cooked meat to ensure cross-contamination does not occur. To keep from accidentally putting cooked meat on the same plate as the raw meat, place cooked meat directly onto your guests’ plates so that the board or plate is only used to bring raw meat to the grill. Additionally, make sure when washing used dishes and utensils, use hot, soapy water, especially on things the raw meat has touched.

2- Keep Your Meat and Side Dishes Covered

Preparing a big meal and then making the barbecue grill a priority may be tempting. Instead, it’s much safer to ensure your side dishes are covered with aluminum foil or cling wrap to avoid any bugs or contamination until you’re ready to serve them. Also, keep your meat refrigerated until the grill has heated up to prevent dangerous bacteria growth.

3- No Hot Dishes on Cold or Wooden Surfaces

Piping hot dishes on your countertops can cause blistering or burning. But it can also make it harder for your guests to track which containers may be too hot to touch. Instead, place glass or metal dishes on a wooden chopping board, trivet, or cooling rack to save pain and potential replacement issues.

4- Clean Your Grill Before Firing It Up

Immediately after it’s heated, but before you start cooking, is the best time to clean your barbecue grill. Doing so will make it easier to get grease off and ensure you’re not contaminating your next round of food. Scrub off the grates and grilling racks when they’re cool. Use a wire brush, scraper, or scourer to speed your effort. Also, watch for any debris or food that may have fallen onto the hot coals while you were cooking.

5- Keep a Bucket Full of Water or Sand Nearby

Your grill should be set at least 10 feet away from your house. To add another level of safety, you should have a bucket of water or sand close by in case you need to put out a fire from your grill. If you have a gas grill, avoid using water should a fire occur but instead, opt for sand or salt. Water on a grease fire may only worsen the situation by causing a flare-up and the potential for grease spattering. If you need to use the salt or sand extinguishing technique, close the lid safely to help starve the fire of oxygen.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.