Before The BBQ: Tips To Prevent Food Poisoning

It’s the season for picnics, cookouts, and other outdoor parties. But eating outdoors in warm weather presents a food safety challenge. Bacteria in food multiply faster at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, so summer heat makes the basics of food safety especially important.

“Fortunately, there are a lot of steps consumers can take to keep family and friends from becoming ill,” says Marjorie Davidson, Ph.D., education team leader in FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Wash hands.

It seems basic, but not everyone does it. Wash hands well and often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom and before cooking or eating. If you’re in an outdoor setting with no bathroom, use a water jug, some soap, and paper towels. Consider carrying moist disposable towelettes for cleaning your hands.

Keep raw food separate from cooked food.

Don’t use a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood for anything else unless the plate has first been washed in hot, soapy water. Keep utensils and surfaces clean.

Marinate food in the refrigerator, not out on the counter.

And if you want to use some of the marinade as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a separate portion. Don’t reuse marinade that contained raw meat.