Friday, July 26, 2019

Grilling on the beach this summer? Keep food safety in mind

Today’s guest blog post is by Janice López-Muñoz, MSIH, a public affairs specialist with the Department of Food Safety Education at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The summer months are the perfect excuse to spend time at the beach, but beach grilling fun could be spoiled with bacteria that could make you sick. There are always challenges when cooking outdoors, but a little bit of preparation can have you enjoying some well-deserved beach time with the family.

Photo by Letizia Barbi via Flickr Creative Commons
Before firing up the beach grill

• Make sure local ordinances allow grilling activities. If yes, only pack the amount of food you will consume to avoid leftovers.

• Season your food at home before packing it for the trip. Remember to wash your hands before handling raw items and in between spice containers when seasoning.

• Pack perishable foods directly from the refrigerator or freezer into the cooler. Keep raw meat and poultry tightly wrapped and store them at the bottom to keep any juices away from cooked or ready-to-eat foods. Pack drinks in a separate cooler.

• A full cooler will keep its cold temperatures longer. If you still have space in your cooler, pack it with more ice.

• Don’t forget to bring moist towelettes and your food thermometer!

Keeping food safe ashore

• At the beach, partially bury your portable cooler in the sand, cover it with blankets or towels, and shade it under a tree or with a beach umbrella.

• Don’t open your cooler unless necessary to keep perishable foods colder for a longer time.

• Don't leave any perishables sitting out for more than two hours, or one hour when the temperature is above 90 degrees.

• Set up and clean your grill before bringing the food out. Clean your hands before placing any foods on the grill.

Beach grill time

Make sure your grilled items are safe to eat by using a food thermometer and checking to see if they reached the right minimum internal temperatures:

• Steaks, roasts and chops: 145 degrees with a three-minute rest

• Fish: 145 degrees

• Ground meat or burgers: 160 degrees

• Poultry, whole or ground: 165 degrees

Serve food using clean plates and utensils. Clean your hands before starting to eat!

If you have a food safety question for your summer activities, call 1-888-674-6854 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday. You can also email or chat via Ask Karen. 

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