Town issues grilling health and safety tips

The Fourth of July might be behind us, but summer is in full swing in Greenwich, and the town has issued several tips to try and keep residents safe.

With plenty of summer barbecues and parties left to go, town Director of Health Caroline Baisley said safe food service is always important, especially during the warm months of peak grilling season. In a press release, the town’s Department of Health said there is an increased need for awareness of safe food service practices because cases of food-borne illness do rise during the summer.

The department issued several pieces of advice to backyard chefs about safety for preparing meat and poultry items:

• If you marinate raw meat, fish and poultry, use separate dishes in the refrigerator, not on the counter. If you plan to use some of the marinade as a dip or basting sauce later, set aside a portion before adding raw meat or poultry to it. Don’t reuse the marinade.

• It is safe to precook food prior to grilling but only if the food goes immediately from the microwave or range to the grill. The department said to think of it as all one cooking process. Cook the meat thoroughly all at once. Interrupted cooking is risky business. If you must cook ahead, cook the meat completely, refrigerate, then reheat on the grill to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

• For safety and quality when grilling, the coals should be very hot before cooking. It may take 30 minutes or longer before the coals are showing a light coating of ash. Meat and poultry should be thoroughly cooked, and it’s best to use a meat thermometer to check for safety and doneness. Whole cuts of meat, whether beef, veal or pork, must be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit and allowed to rest for three minutes. People should not eat raw or undercooked hamburgers, since harmful bacteria could be present. To be sure bacteria are destroyed, cook meat patties to 160 degrees. All poultry, whole or ground, should reach 165 degrees.

Other tips for healthy cooking include cooking the meat thoroughly, but not so much that pieces are charred and black, keeping the portions small and lean, trimming away any excess fat, precooking the meat in the oven or on the stove ahead of time and then finishing it up on the grill, not ignoring vegetables, fruits, and grains when enjoying some summer grilling, and not eating any charred or blackened parts.

When serving the food, put out the hot, grilled foods immediately. Put cooked foods on clean plates that were not used to hold raw meat or poultry. Perishable foods should be consumed as soon as possible. To prevent possible food-borne illness, all foods should always be kept either hot or cold and should not be stored at room or outdoor temperatures for long periods of time. And afterward, clean the grill after each use and refrigerate any leftovers promptly. Save leftovers only if they have been kept on ice since being cooked and served. Remember to reheat foods to 165 degrees Fahrenheit before eating, and “when in doubt, throw it out.”

The town continues to urge that if residents do drink alcohol at social gatherings this year they make sure to do it responsibly. Ms. Baisley said alcohol is involved in nearly 30% of all motor vehicle-related deaths, and driving either a car or a boat while consuming alcoholic beverages can set the stage for an accident. To combat that, the Health Department suggested that hosts make sure non-alcoholic beverages are available at a party, not urge anyone to drink because people may take drinks they don’t want in order not to appear rude, stop serving alcoholic beverages well before the end of the party, never let anyone drive or operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol, and never serve alcoholic beverages to a minor.

Ms. Baisley said even if there is no alcohol around, care should also be taken when driving to summer events or even something as seemingly simple as a trip to the beach. According to the state, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Connecticut residents between the ages of 5 and 24 years, and are responsible for more than 26% of all deaths in this age group. Among Connecticut’s 15- to 19-year-olds, motor vehicle crashes cause 30% of all deaths. Ms. Baisley said many of these deaths and non-fatal injuries can be prevented, and she reminded residents to use seat belts and child restraints. Connecticut law requires proper use of seat belts for adults and child restraints for children.

For more information about safely enjoying the summer, call the Greenwich Department of Health at 203-622-7857.

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress