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5 tips for grilling safety for Memorial Day weekend

Posted May 25, 2018 2:23 p.m. EDT

DAYTON, Ohio -- Food poisoning peaks in the summer months when warmer temperatures cause foodborne germs to flourish, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of grilling season and is a major holiday that drives sales, including meat sales, at local grocery stores. Here are five tips from the CDC for making sure you're grilling safely this weekend:

1. SHOPPING TIPS

When shopping, pick up meat, poultry, and seafood last, right before checkout. Separate them from other food in your shopping cart and grocery bags. To guard against cross-contamination, put packages of raw meat and poultry into individual plastic bags.

2. KEEP IT COOL

Keep meat, poultry, and seafood refrigerated until ready to grill. When transporting, keep below 40 degrees in an insulated cooler.

3. CLEAN IT

Wash your hands with soap before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Wash work surfaces, utensils, and the grill before and after cooking.

4. CHECK YOUR TOOLS

Use a moist cloth or paper towel to clean the grill surface before cooking. If you use a wire bristle brush, thoroughly inspect the grill's surface before cooking. Wire bristles from grill cleaning brushes may dislodge and stick into food on the grill.

5. COOK IT RIGHT

Throw out marinades and sauces that have touched raw meat juices, which can spread germs to cooked foods. Use clean utensils and a clean plate to remove cooked meat from the grill.

Use a food thermometer to ensure meat is cooked hot enough to kill harmful germs. When smoking, keep temperatures inside the smoker at 225 degrees to 300 degrees to keep meat a safe temperature while it cooks.

145 degrees -- whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal (stand-time of 3 minutes at this temperature).

145 degrees -- fish.

160 degrees -- hamburgers and other ground beef.

165 degrees -- all poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs.

Kara Driscoll writes for the Dayton Daily News. Email: Kara.Driscoll(at)coxinc.com.

Story Filed By Cox Newspapers

For Use By Clients of the New York Times News Service