Insights & Actions for Healthy Living

I hear warnings about eating meats that are undercooked. Can you give me some guidance especially since we will be grilling more this summer?

It is great that you are thinking about food safety and the importance of grilling thoroughly to keep you and your family safe.

When cooking any meat (beef), pork, or poultry, we should keep in mind a variety of factors to preserve the quality and safety.

  1. Keep all foods especially protein foods cold until you are ready to cook. When outside on the BBQ or at a picnic we still need to keep the perishable food on ice up until cooking time. This will keep the growth of bacteria to a minimum. If the food has been left out longer than two hours without proper refrigeration, it is not safe to eat.
  2. Cook protein foods to the appropriate internal temperature. This means that you will need to invest in a meat thermometer. Just looking at the color of the meat is not a safe way to measure its doneness.
  3. Don’t use marinades from uncooked protein foods on food that is now cooked as it can spread bacteria. Don’t use the same utensils, serving plates and cutting boards on uncooked and cooked foods. Get a clean plate to bring food off the grill to the table and a fresh serving fork. Also be careful to use a different cutting board for uncooked meat and fresh fruits, vegetables and ready to eat foods to prevent cross contamination.
Internal temperatures:
  • Ground beef = 160 degrees
  • Ground poultry = 165 degrees
  • Pork – chops, roasts, ham = 145 degrees
  • Beef (whole cuts), lamb, veal = 145 degrees
  • Poultry (whole bird) = 180 degrees, pieces such as wings, thigh, drumstick = 165 degrees
  • Fish fillets = 145 degrees.

Happy grilling! Don’t forget to throw some fresh vegetables on the grill as a quick and delicious side dish!

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