One of the most popular summer activities is firing up the grill and serving barbecue to our friends and family. As we plan and prepare to cook outside this summer, food safety must be at the top of our to do list.
Foodborne illness (also called food poisoning, foodborne disease, or foodborne infection) increases during the summer because of warmer temperatures and extended time that food is typically handled. Every year, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.
Protect yourself and loved ones this summer by using everyday food safety practices to decrease the risk of foodborne illnesses.
- Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate. Keep your raw meats separate from other food while shopping, storing, and cooking.
- Check: Inspect your grill and tools before cooking. Clean your grill grates.
- Chill: Refrigerate raw meat, poultry, and seafood promptly and keep it cold until it’s time to cook.
- Clean: Wash your hands and work surfaces often to avoid spreading germs.
- Cook: Use a food thermometer to ensure meat is cooked to the right temperature.
If you or someone you know becomes ill, remember that food poisoning symptoms can be anywhere from mild to very serious. Contact your healthcare provider if you are concerned about worsening symptoms. The most common symptoms of food poisoning are:
- Upset stomach
- Stomach cramps
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to get more information about foods that are more greatly associated with food poisoning and how to avoid getting sick. With a few simple steps, we can all enjoy cooking and sharing meals outside this summer.