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Written by Tracy Trumper   

Reminders for grilling safety

Summer means long days enjoying the outdoors. This includes family and friends getting together for a meal cooked on the grill.

According to the FDA, as of February 2011, foodborne illness claimed 48 million gastrointestinal illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths in a year. If a pregnant woman, elderly person or young children are the guests at your cook out, food safety is especially important.

During grilling it is still important to have safe cleaning, prepping and cooking methods.

First, be prepared to clean. Wash the grill down with hot soapy water before you start grilling. Always wash your hands before, during and after food preparation. Pack hand sanitizer and moist towelettes if you are grilling away from home and soap and water are not available. Clean handling and prep of food will help eliminate the spread of illness causing bacteria.

Second, be sure to separate. As always, use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meats and vegetables. In addition, separate the raw meats from ready to eat foods and vegetables when cooking. Marinade is only safe to re-use if it is boiled first.

Third, remember to check temperatures. To ensure that bacteria are adequately killed through the cooking process, use a food thermometer to check internal temperature of foods. Just cutting it open and looking at it or feeling the surface of the food is not a safe way to make sure that food is cooked properly.

Below is a list of foods and the minimum internal temperatures they should be before consuming them.

—poultry, 165 degrees.

—ground turkey and chicken, 165 degrees.

—ground beef, pork and lamb, 165 degrees.

—steak, 145 degrees.

—pork, 145 degrees.

—fish, 145 degrees.

—veggies and fruits, grill until tender and slightly browned.

Holyoke Enterprise June 5, 2012