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Be Careful at the BBQ

barbeque
Sean Gallup, Getty Images

The Fourth of July holiday weekend serves as a great time to relax and spend time with friends and family, but according to stats, it can also be dangerous if certain precautions aren’t taken.

The Christie Administration has released a series of grilling safety and food handling tips to keep celebrations safe from injury and illness.

“An estimated 76 million Americans get sick each year from food-borne illness caused when food is not prepared or cooked properly,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd. “There are simple steps people can take, such as using a food thermometer to confirm that meat is cooked to a safe temperature.”

According to data through 2010, fire departments in New Jersey and across the nation responded to an average of 8,600 home fires involving gas-fired or charcoal grills. The fires resulted in an annual average of 10 fatalities and 140 injuries, plus millions in property damage.

TIPS FOR SAFE SUMMER COOKOUTS 

FOOD HANDLING:

  • Thoroughly clean all cutting boards and surfaces that come in contact with raw food.
  • When preparing foods, use two cutting boards – one for raw meat, chicken and fish, and one for vegetables or other foods that will not be cooked.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds in warm soapy water before and after preparing foods.
  • Check to ensure food is thoroughly cooked by inserting a food thermometer at an angle into the thickest part of the meat, chicken or fish to check the internal temperature. Cook hamburgers to at least 155°F, chicken and stuffed meats to at least 165°F, and steaks, pork, fish and whole beef or pork roasts to at least 145°F.
  • Keep cold foods in the refrigerator until serving time.
  • Keep hot food hot by using tabletop equipment such as chafing dishes and sternos.
  • Refrigerate leftovers immediately. Discard food that has been left out for four or more hours.

GAS GRILLS

  • When lighting the grill for the first time, or anytime, make certain the lid is open or in an up position.
  • To maintain your gas grill, keep it covered when not in use. Replace worn or defective parts.
  • Check the gas valve to grill connections. Use soapy water only to check for leaks.
  • Always make certain the supply knobs and the propane tank itself are completely turned off
  • Never use any accelerant (lighter fluid, or charcoal lighting fluid) to light a gas grill.
  • Keep children away from the grill at all times.
  • Keep the grill away from any structure on your property, especially your home.
  • DO NOT grill in or under any structure.

CHARCOAL GRILLS

  • Never use anything other than charcoal briquettes, (wood, cardboard, etc.) in a charcoal grill.
  • Use only approved charcoal grill fluid to ignite the charcoal.
  • Keep children away at all times.
  • Keep the grill away from any structure on your property, especially your home.
  • DO NOT grill in or under any structure.

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