Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Barbecue Food Safety Guide: 'Keep Hot Foods Hot and Cold Foods Cold'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Barbecue Food Safety Guide: 'Keep Hot Foods Hot and Cold Foods Cold'

Article excerpt

Barbecue food safety: From prep to leftovers

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TORONTO - There's a simple rule to preventing growth of nasty bacteria at your summer cookout which can cause your stomach grief for days.

"Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold," says Brenda Watson, executive director of the Cambridge, Ont.-based Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education.

The group has created harmonized food safety standards from the "farm gate to the dinner plate," says Watson. Members of the partnership include meat and poultry producers, local health authorities and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The first step to food safety is to make sure your hands, kitchen tools and surfaces are clean. It also helps to use separate cutting boards and knives when preparing meat and raw produce. Watson recommends preparing meat and vegetables in different areas of the kitchen to avoid cross-contamination.

Washing raw fruits and vegetables is also key to getting rid of surface bacteria. If not rinsed thoroughly, they can be a source of E. coli -- which can make you sick for up to 10 days.

When it comes to poultry, the U.K. Food Safety Board recommends that it never be washed because it contaminates water droplets which can then spread Campylobacter, a bacteria found on raw chicken, to counters, clothes and dishes. This bug can lead to the fever- and nausea-inducing illness campylobacteriosis, which is the leading cause of food-related illness in this country, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

One of the easiest ways of transferring bacteria is losing track of which plates and utensils have been used for raw meat. Watson advises having a clean plate ready to put meat on when you remove it from the grill to avoid cross-contamination.

Burgers in particular are breeding ground for bacteria as mixing ground meat with your favourite sauces and spices incorporates surface bacteria. …

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