Labor Day weekend is the perfect time to be outdoors. While you’re enjoying a family cookout and relaxing in the sun, remember to be safe when grilling and preparing food. One in six Americans will become sick each year due to contaminated food.
Follow these tips to keep you and your loved ones safe this Labor Day:
1. Keep your cooler stocked with ice. A rule of thumb for this is to fill the cooler up ¾ with food and ¼ with ice. A helpful hint is to also pack food items in a separate cooler from beverages. Drinks are accessed more frequently and will cause the cooler to warm up faster.
2. Never repurpose ice from a food cooler to be ice for a drink. Juices from meats have the potential to leak out and contaminate the ice. Always pack extra ice specifically for beverages to avoid this.
3. Use a food thermometer to check that your grilled foods are thoroughly cooked. Meats must be cooked to their proper temperature of at least 165 degrees Farenheit in order to kill off bacteria.
4. Separate raw and cooked foods to avoid cross contamination. When grilling make sure to use different utensils and plates for raw and cooked foods. When packing for a picnic you’ll want to pack raw foods in a separate cooler.
5. Always wash your hands before and after preparing food and before eating. This will prevent the spread of bacteria from raw meats.
6. Monitor your leftovers once you are done eating. Don't leave food out for more than two hours.
If you suspect you may have eaten contaminated food, visit the BSA Urgent Care. You can check in online here.