Summer Food Tips

Summer Food Tips

Summer Food Tips. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

Well now that summer is officially here it is a good time to chat about food safety at all those wonderful summer weekend barbecues, picnics and fun times outside. I just bought a new grill and plan on using it all summer long. But those fun times can quickly turn bad when food is mishandled or improperly prepared. A little extra precaution is a good idea during summertime outdoor cooking.

KENDRICK: You really want to make sure you always wash your hands. That's just a very common vehicle for transmitting food borne illness. Watch for cross-contamination. That's another key- again, the raw meat contaminating the ready-too-eat. The third thing we really focus on is temperature control.

That’s food safety specialist Susan Kendrick who says there are certain summer foods potentially more hazardous than others. Raw meat is one of them. It’s a good idea to have a meat thermometer along to check the internal temperature of the steaks or burger since you can’t always tell by the outside. But even foods you don't cook can be problematic. Sprouts have been in the news recently, linked to a deadly E. coli outbreak in Europe: 

KENDRICK: If you are going to eat sprouts, keep them refrigerated. When you purchase them, they should be refrigerated as well. But secondly, if you are immune-compromised, it is a food you really need to consider avoiding.

Salad greens and melons may be in the same boat- keep them refrigerated in a cooler or ice chest if you are away from home. Finally, when the meal is outdoors, make sure foods don't stay out for more than four hours. When in doubt, throw it out might be hard to do but better to be safe. And speaking of grilling, chicken is great on the grill. Richard Lobb is the communications director with the National Chicken Council.??LOBB: You can cook a chicken real quick, it doesn’t take long to cook at all. And if it goes a little bit past the most desirable point, its still fine. Its hard to overcook chicken, however you don’t want to leave it on too long because then it can dry out; particularly the white meat.

So how about a suggestion.

LOBB: What I would suggest is you take some skinless, boneless breasts and then marinade or soak it in some vinegar for a while. Thats my favorite trick and Im a Southerner so I like to throw on some Tabasco Sauce while Im at it some kind of hot pepper sauce and then let that marinade for half an hour or an hour or so; fire up the grill, clean off the grill so it doesn’t stick and it will cook in 6 or 8 minutes at the most to a side.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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