Food Safety – Grilling Edition

Created by: Kristen Carli, Dietetic Intern

Food safety is no joke! Cleanliness, cross-contamination, storage temperatures, and minimal internal cooking temperatures are all important to monitor so that microorganisms cannot grow, persist, and infect. 

Summer is a time for cookouts, pool parties, and grilling! While lots of fun, they present an ideal environment for microorganisms to linger.


Wash your hands with warm soapy water before preparing any food. Be sure to wash again during and after food preparation. Additionally, it is important to wash all utensils and cutting boards before and after use. 


Cross-contamination can be very dangerous! Make sure to separate cooked, ready-to-eat foods away from raw meat. This means having separate platters and cooking utensils. 


Perishable foods should not sit out longer than 2 hours, or one hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Perishable foods should be kept in cool storage at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Watch out for common BBQ staples such as potato salad, macaroni salad, etc. These foods should not be kept in warm temperatures for longer than 1-2 hours. If you are traveling and bringing food, make sure the cold foods are with you in the passenger area of the car with access to air conditioning. Do not store in the hot, stuffy trunk of a car.


When cooking, it is very important that meat and fish reach certain minimum internal temperatures. This ensures the meat is cooked thoroughly. 

Food ItemMinimum Internal Cooking Temperature (degrees Fahrenheit)
Fin Fish145
Bratwurst160 – 165
Hot Dog165 

Material adapted from

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