Avoid getting sick from food off the grill

"Grill" by LetiziaBarbi, CC BY-SA 2.0

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO) – The Fourth of July weekend brings fireworks, lake season, and most importantly, grilling season. But did you know grilling meat can cause serious health issues if not done carefully?

In fact, 34,000 cancer deaths around the world were caused by diets of processed meat.

WOWO spoke with Steven Schumm, Director of Food and Consumer Protection for the Allen County Department of Health, on ways to avoid getting sick from food off the grill.

The top four causes of grill sickness include:

1. Poor personal hygeine – Always wash your hands before and after handling raw meat. It’s especially important to cleanse your hands after touching the meat, and before touching utensiles or any other foods. This will reduce the risk of spreading germs.

“Warm, soapy water is all you need,” said Schumm. “If you’re at an off-site event, bottled water or moist towlettes are acceptable.”

2. Dirty cooking surfaces – Make sure to wash your knives, cutting boards, etc. in-between handling foods. Using your knife to slice a meat, and then cut vegetables can cause the veggies to become contaminated.

3. Inaccurate cooking temperatures – Always make sure your meats are cooked at the proper temperature.

a. Beef, pork, veal, lamb: 160 degrees Farenheit

b. Turkey, chicken: 165 degrees Farenheit

c. Steaks, roast, chops: 145 degrees Farenheit

4. Failing to keep foods at the proper tempature – Large events like graduation parties, fairs, and festivals make it easy to leave food sitting out for long periods of time. Cold food must be placed on ice, and cooked food should be held at the proper temperature, or refrigerated within two hours of sitting out.

For more information on how to properly cook meat, avoid contamination and more, check out the Allen County Department of Health or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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