BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — Many people will be firing up the grill this holiday weekend — but be sure to do so safely.
Melissa Keeney, a registered dietitian at St. Vincent’s Medical Center, said to make sure meat, chicken, seafood and vegetables are cooked to safe internal temperatures.
“For chicken, and that includes ground chicken, we want the internal temperature to be at lest 165 degrees,” Keeney said.
For ground meat such as hamburger, Keeney said the temperature should go up to 155 degrees. It should be 145 degrees for seafood, steak or vegetables.
Keeney says leftovers should be thrown out after three to four days.
When eating outdoors, she said it’s important to keep cold food cold and hot food hot.
Avoid what she calls the “danger zone” at between 41 and 135 degrees, when bacteria can grow rapidly.
If you do have food outside don’t leave it out beyond two hours. If it’s above 90 degrees outside, the limit is one hour.
If food exceeds that time, then it should be thrown away due to the risk of bacteria causing food poisoning.
Make a plan not to cross contaminate before and after grilling. Use one plate for when the food is raw, and another for after it’s cooked.
Keeney advises using three utensils
“The fork, to pick up the meat and put it on the grill,” she said. “Then, you want another fork to move the meat around the grill. And, the last one is something to pick up like tongs.”
She also reminds people that older adults and children are at a higher risk for getting very ill, or even dying, from food poisoning due to their weaker immune systems.