Have a Happy, Food Safe Father’s Day!
By Diane Van, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service
Father’s Day is just around the corner. Many of us will celebrate with a day of outdoor activities and tasty meats from the grill. The chef of your household might have the skills to cook the perfect burger, but do they know how to cook a delicious and safe burger? It’s easy if you follow these simple steps.
Step 1: Safe Thawing
If meat and poultry is frozen, be sure to thaw it before grilling so that it will cook more evenly. Never thaw food at room temperature; you need to keep food out of the Danger Zone (between 40 °F - 140 °F) to keep bacteria from growing to dangerous levels.
The safe ways to thaw food are:
- In the refrigerator
- In cold water
- In the microwave. Plan to grill the meat immediately because some areas may begin to cook during the defrosting.
For more details, see The Big Thaw: Safe Defrosting Methods for Consumers or listen to our podcast on thawing.
Step 2: Safe Marinating
For many chefs, a great marinade is the secret ingredient that turns a tough piece of meat into one that’s moist, tender, and tasty. Here’s how to do it safely:
- Always marinate food in the refrigerator to keep it out of the Danger Zone.
- If you’re planning ahead, you can marinate chicken up to 2 days and beef up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
- Never use the leftover marinade as a sauce unless you bring it to a boil first for one minute.
Listen to our podcast on marinating for tips on containers for marinating, amounts to use, and more.
Step 3: Safe Grilling
The secret to safe grilling is to use a food thermometer. It’s the only way to be sure that the food is safely cooked. Check out our Using a Food Thermometer blog post for details.
Step 4: Safe Serving
What’s one of the most common mistakes that people make when they’re grilling? They put the safely cooked food on the same platter that held the raw meat or poultry. Don’t ever do this! When taking food off the grill, always use a clean platter. Otherwise, any harmful bacteria present in the raw meat juices could contaminate your cooked food.
Step 5: Safe Storing
If you have any leftovers, chill them promptly in shallow containers in a cooler or refrigerator. Discard any food left out for more than 2 hours. If it’s hot (over 90 °F), discard food left out for more than 1 hour.
If you have questions about grilling, feel free to submit them here. But, if you need an answer quickly, one of the following is your best bet:
Yes, you are right... Food can only be healthy if it is cooked safely. I have read your instructions and it can be helpful for everyone while cooking. Everybody takes food to survive in life so if the food is not cooked safely then it can be more harmful than helpful. I wish everybody may read this blog and his/her life healthy.....
There is always a risk of eating unsafe ingredients where ever you buy them, you can only minimize that risks on one hand eating home grown ingredients you have total control over what you do, but you might not be able to properly test if your ingredients could potential be harmful and on the other hand things bought in groceries stores are usually tested, but you have no controle and lack full information on a product. It's a tradeoff and one has to live with it. Choosing one over the latter is merely a matter of ideology.
The safest way is to use your own ingredients such as the vegetables you planted in your backyard or the chicken you raised in your poultry. Buying stuff from grocery stores can sometimes be unsafe.
It is very important that consumers know about all of the dangers of cross contamination. They should teach it in school to the kids as well. However i did notice that your danger zone is off. It changed in recent years. Its 41 - 141 Not real big but just thought you should know.
"Good food ends with good talk." Food cooked should be tastier as well as healthier. This article is very useful for healthy food. Continue with more healthy foods.
thanks for sharing all of this tips,very informative and impressive article.. i love grilling so it's a helpful article..
Having a large family it is sometimes hard to keep track of all the food we buy and store in the fridge. For some reason my father always seems to get sick and I believe its because they do not label the food correctly with dates of purchase. I think its a good rule to do this so that you know how old something is. Its especially bad when you have kids that rummage through the fridge and leave food out on the counter.
"Im very excited to see this! I can't believe its been 50 years!
Good tips on safe habits for grilling raw meats; there were actually a few new ones for me that I didn't consider before.
To have a happy, food safe father's day means means narrowing down the options of celebration places to staying home. It is not that dramatic though if you look at it this way!