Don't Let Food Poisoning Spoil Your Picnic

Experts share simple tips on grilling safety

SATURDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- It's start of the summer season as Americans get ready for a slew of picnics and barbecues.

But, even though many people are savvy about keeping foods that spoil easily out of the sun, they may still be making mistakes that can serve up a hefty dose of food poisoning.

To help prevent these calamities, the American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods' Home Food Safety program has some tips about how to avoid food poisoning:

1. Wash your hands often -- for at least 20 seconds in warm soapy water -- before, during and after handling food outside. A bottle of hand sanitizer by the grill will help you if you can't get to a sink.

2. Separate raw meats from ready-to-eat foods and keep them in separate containers to avoid cross-contamination.

3. Make sure you cook your food to the recommended temperatures -- use a food thermometer to make sure -- and refrigerate food promptly.

4. Scrub the grill and the utensils you use to cook food with, and don't forget to clean coolers and other containers. Use hot soapy water.

5. Don't use the same dish towel over and over because it can spread germs. Use paper towels -- don't reuse them -- and only use dish towels to dry dishes and hands.

6. Don't use the same brush to baste raw and cooked meats and boil leftover marinade before using it to season cooked meats.

7. Keep food cool with plenty of ice or ice packs and use a refrigerator thermometer to make sure your cooler is below 40 degrees F.

8. Don't allow food to be outside too long: in hot weather, 90 degrees F or above, an hour is the limit without refrigeration.

More information

For more about food safety, visit the American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods' Home Food Safety program.

Randy Dotinga SOURCE: American Dietetic Association, press release, May 2011

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