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Clean: Make sure to always wash your hands and surfaces with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before cooking and after handling raw meat or poultry during cooking. And don’t forget to wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and work spaces too. If you’ll be away from the kitchen, pack plenty of clean cloths, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer or towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands.
Separate: When taking food off the grill, use a clean platter. Don’t put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry. Any harmful bacteria present in the raw meat juices could contaminate safely cooked food.
Cook: Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of burgers, steaks, chicken, and foods containing meat or poultry.
Chill: After a cookout, place leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate or freeze immediately. Remember, when in doubt, throw it out! Steer clear of the food Danger Zone this summer. The Danger Zone is the temperature range in which bacteria can grow faster -- for cold foods it’s temperatures above 40 °F, for hot foods it’s temperatures below 140 °F. Don’t leave food between 40 and 140 °F out for more than two hours; and, if the outside temperature is above 90 °F, food should not be left out more than one hour.
There is no such thing as stomach flu! If more than one person, who ate at the same place or event, begins experiencing stomach issues, it might be food-related and it’s best to contact the Communicable Disease Clinic at the health department (309) 888-5435. Be food safe this summer!