By: Jillian Weissman, MD, Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program
Summer is in full swing and if you’re like many of us, you’re getting ready for cookout season! But did you know grilling could cause major safety risks?
Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare wants to remind you to check out the common dos and don’ts of outdoor cooking and to be safe this summer.
- Grill at least 10-20 feet away from your home. Also, avoid grilling in areas such as covered porches or carports to prevent fires and smoke inhalation.
- Store meat and poultry in the refrigerator until they are ready to be placed on the grill. Left over cooked meat needs to be placed into the fridge within two hours to prevent possible food poisoning.
- Cook meat thoroughly. To be certain, insert a food thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Cook until it reaches the appropriate recommended temperature (red meat-145F, poultry-160F seafood-145F).
- Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple steps of your grill and know how to use it in case of a fire. Also, keep a spray bottle nearby to spray the grill in case of a small fire flare up.
- Allow grease and fat to build up on your grill, as this is a major source of grill fires. Clean your grill after every use to prevent this from happening.
- Allow anyone to conduct activity near the grill when in use or immediately following its use. Grills can remain hot up to an hour after being used.
- Place raw meat near other foods. This is can lead to bacterial cross-contamination. Also, don’t use the same cutting board for raw meats that you use for other foods (fruits, vegetables, etc).
- Leave a grill unattended. Fires can occur within seconds. Plan ahead so that all of your other food prep is complete and you can focus solely on grilling.
For more information or to schedule an appointment at the Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program, please call 431-5430 or visit TMH.org.