Most people do not think about foodborne illness until they become ill from unknowingly consuming contaminated food. While the food supply in the United States is one of the safest in the world, CDC estimates that each year 76 million cases of foodborne illness occur and more than 300,000 persons are hospitalized and 5,000 die from foodborne illness. Tracking individual foodborne illnesses and investigating outbreaks of foodborne disease are critical public health functions and CDC is deeply involved in these activities.
- A true "Grill Master" always knows to clean, separate, cook and chill to ensure a pleasant cookout for all.
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
- Always marinate foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter or outdoors. Don't use sauce that was used to marinate raw meat or poultry on cooked food. Boil used marinade before applying to cooked food.
- When grilling foods, preheat the coals on your grill for 20 or 30 minutes, or until the coals are lightly coated with ash.
If you partially cook food in the microwave, oven or stove to reduce grilling time, do so immediately before the food goes on the hot grill.
- When it's time to cook the food, cook it to a safe internal temperature. Use a food thermometer to be sure.
o Beef, veal and lamb steaks and roasts: 145 °F for medium rare, 160 °F for medium, and 170 °F for well done.
o Ground pork and ground beef: 160 °F.
o Poultry: to at least 165 °F.
o Fin fish: 145 °F or until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.
o Shrimp, lobster and crabs: The meat should be pearly and opaque.
o Clams, oysters and mussels: Until the shells are open.
- Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs. Be sure to have on hand plenty of clean utensils and platters.
- Grilled food can be kept hot until served by moving it to the side of the grill rack, just away from the coals where it can overcook.
- Never let raw meat, poultry, eggs, cooked food or cut fresh fruits or vegetables sit at room temperature more than two hours before putting them in the refrigerator or freezer (one hour when the temperature is above 90 degrees.