Clean Grilling

Reviewed by Wendy Marcason, RDN
cleaning the grill

Eldad Carin/iStock/Thinkstock

Let's face it. During the warm summer months, men are usually the ones flipping burgers over the hot, smoky grill. Are men following the correct outdoor food safety guidelines? Chances are they're not.

One guideline they are breaking is to always wash your hands before, after and during food preparation. In fact, a survey1 conducted revealed that men are less likely to wash their hands than women and only about two-thirds of men wash their hands after using the restroom.

So, the next time your man fires up the grill, give him some simple food safety tips that will help bacteria from creeping into his famous outdoor creations.

Wash hands with warm soapy water before/during food preparation.

Proper hand washing may eliminate a large percentage of food poisoning. Since bacteria can easily be transferred from the body to foods and surfaces, always wash your hands thoroughly, especially after switching tasks such as handling raw meats and then touching vegetables.

Wash plates between uses or use separate plates: one for holding raw meat, poultry and seafood; another for cooked foods.

The juices from raw meats and poultry aren't always easy to contain. They tend to spill over and/or leak on foods and surfaces. Because these juices may carry harmful bacteria, using two separate plates will help prevent cross-contamination, a leading cause of foodborne illness.

Clean grilling utensils with hot soapy water.

After using knives, grilling tongs or forks to touch raw meats and poultry, clean thoroughly with hot soapy water before handling cooked foods to prevent cross-contamination. Too much hassle to clean the dishes while you're cooking? Use two sets of utensils at the grill: one for raw meats and the other set for cooked foods.

Clean the grill according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Put a little extra elbow grease into cleaning the grill to kill any bacteria that may be lingering about.

Use a food thermometer to check the doneness of meats and poultry.

Relying on color alone to check the doneness of meat isn't the best technique. A food thermometer is the only way to ensure food has been cooked to the proper temperature. Favorites like steak should be cooked to at least 145°F, hamburgers should be cooked to at least 160°F, while chicken should be cooked to at least 165°F.

1. American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute

Download: Safe Grilling Tip Sheet.

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