Weatherford Democrat

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May 25, 2013

Staying safe during your Memorial Day cookout

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Place the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat to take a temperature reading. After reaching proper internal temperature, thick cuts of lamb, beef, and chicken require a three-minute rest time before carving and consuming.

Safe minimum internal temperatures include:

  • Hot dogs -- 65 degrees F or until steaming hot.
  • Poultry -- 165 degrees F.
  • Ground beef and other ground meat -- 160 degrees F.
  • Whole cuts of pork, lamb, veal and beef -- 145 degrees F (followed by a three-minute rest time).
  • Fish -- 145 degrees F.

Remember to place cooked meats on a clean platter, not on the dish that held the raw product. The juices left on the plate from raw meat can spread bacteria to safely cooked food.

Chill

The last challenge is keeping hot food hot and cold food cold. Too often, food is left to sit out while guests graze over the course of several hours. Bacteria grow most rapidly between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F. To keep bacterial growth at bay, keep hot food on the grill and place cold food in a cooler or ice bath. Never let perishable food sit out for more than two hours.

If the temperature is higher than 90 degrees F, food should not sit out more than one hour. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly and discard any food that has been sitting out too long.

Need more information? The FSIS "Grill It Safe" webpage contains fact sheets, videos and podcasts about safe handling and preparation of food during warmer months.

Story provided by ConsumerAffairs.

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