Food and BBQ Safety Tips

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Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino and the Department of Public Safety remind residents that while warm weather is a perfect time to barbecue, enjoy outdoor dining and go on picnics, it is also important to be mindful of potential foodborne bacteria, and important barbecue safety practices.
Supervisor Saladino stated, “Fire in the grill is a welcome sight during summertime, but fire anywhere else can quickly turn a summer kick-off barbecue memorable for all the wrong reasons. Keep these important safety tips in mind this summer season.”
To keep you and your family safe while grilling, follow these general guidelines:
• Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors, away from the home, deck railings, and overhanging branches.

• Keep the grill clean and never leave your grill unattended.

• Check the major connection points between the gas tank hose and the regulator and cylinder, and where the hose connects to the burners, especially for leaks. If there is a leak, and tightening connections does not stop it, call the Fire Department immediately.

• If you smell gas as you are cooking, turn off the gas tank and burners, move away from the grill, and call the Fire Department.

• When using a charcoal grill, if using starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid to the fire, and keep out of reach of children, and away from heat sources.

• When finished grilling on a charcoal grill, let the coals cool completely before disposing in a metal container.
When it comes to food safety, temperature and time, as well as personal hygiene, are critical factors that can lead to foodborne diseases. To protect yourself, your family and friends from foodborne diseases, the Town recommends the following:

• When storing or transporting food, keep the food’s temperature below 40°F or above 140°F.

• When preparing poultry, pork or beef, make certain it is cooked until the juices run clear. The best way to check that cooked foods are safe to eat, including those foods cooked on a barbecue, is to measure their internal cooking temperature with a chef’s type of stem thermometer. Poultry should reach 165°F on the thermometer; ground beef should reach 158°F; pork should reach 150°F; solid cuts of meat or fish should reach 140°F.

• Never reuse plates, utensils, cutting boards or any other item that previously held raw meat, poultry or seafood for serving – unless they have been washed first in hot, soapy water.

• Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. If some of the marinade is to be used as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion of the marinade before putting raw meat or poultry in it. Do not reuse marinade.

• To help prevent foodborne diseases such as Hepatitis A, Salmonella, E.coli and other diseases, be aware of personal hygiene. Do not touch food which is ready to eat with bare hands. Remember to wash your hands after sneezing, coughing, using the toilet or changing diapers. And, if you are ill, do not prepare food at all.

• Refrigerate any leftovers immediately! Never leave food at room temperature for more than two hours.