Summertime is the season for cookouts, picnics and grilling outside. When you're cooking outdoors, it's more important than ever to keep your food prep area clean and sanitary -- especially when it's hot outside. Here are a few tips to help avoid food poisoning at your summer cookouts:
- Avoid Cross Contamination
Use separate cutting boards to keep raw meats and poultry items separate from vegetables and cooked foods. The juices from uncooked meat and poultry can contaminate cooked food and make you sick.
- Use clean utensils and platters
Keep plenty of clean utensils and platters on hand. When you remove cooked meat or poultry from the grill, don't replace it onto the same platters that you used for the raw items.
- Make sure prep surfaces -- and hands -- are clean
Always wash your hands with soap and hot water before handling or preparing food. Prep surfaces such as cutting boards that come in contact with raw and cooked foods should also be kept clean. And if you use a cutting board to prep raw meat or poultry, be sure to wash it thoroughly before reusing it to prepare vegetables or cooked foods.
- Ensure adequate water for prep and cleaning
If you'll be cooking away from home such as at a park, the beach or a campground, make sure there's a source of clean water available. If there isn't, bring your own water for prep and cleaning. You should also pack plenty of clean cloths, moist towelettes and anti-bacterial hand gel for cleaning surfaces and hands.