BBQ Food Safety

Meat thermometer

BBQ season sounds like a dream come true with hot weather, cold food and the great outdoors. This is especially true after the long and cold winter we had in Ontario this year.

Although this might seem like a dream for many Canadian’s, barbeques can be a nightmare for food safety. With this being said, here are some safe food handling tips to make sure this summer your BBQ’s stay safe and delicious!

Safe Handling for Defrosting

Food should never be thawed at room temperature as this is the ideal temperature for bacteria growth. The temperature of the food should not remain between 4°C to 60°C or 40°F to 140°F for more than two hours at a time.

Three acceptable ways to safely thaw foods are:

• in a refrigerator
• in a microwave
• immersed in cold water

Safe Handling for Cooking

Foods should be defrosted completely before they are cooked. Frozen portions cooked with defrosted foods can cause uneven cooking and lead to cold spots. These cold spots can be dangerous because bacteria may be present.

Keep a digital thermometer handy to make sure that the internal temperature reaches a safe level. Foods containing pork should reach 71°C (160°F).

Safe Handling for Serving

Serve everything you make as it is made. If this is not possible as you are using buffet style, make sure that your cold foods stay cold and your warm foods stay warm with the use of ice baths and chafing dishes (an oven and slow cooker are other good options).

Always wash your hands before and after food is handled. This is especially critical when handling raw meats, eggs and fish. Remember that handling your food safely can prevent illness and protect your family and friends.

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