As the weather gets warmer so does the number of people cooking outside. But, if you're having a cookout, you're also more likely to contaminate food. KGNS News Reporter Yocelin Gallardo has tips on how to practice food safety.
The weather is warm and the grills are hot. For Julio Luna cooking outside is a family tradition. "During this type we all unite as a family in these types of places." But before heading out to cook, he knows the importance of handling raw food, especially outside. "Because of the weather, there is a lot of wind. Sometimes there is less, but it's tougher to cook sometimes."
According to the city of Laredo Health Department along with the USDA’s Food Safety Department, this year, one in six Americans will get sick from food poisoning. Food poisoning can affect anyone who eats food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins, or other substances.
The USDA encourages people to make sure to check the internal temperature of the meat. Find the thickest part of the meat and insert a food thermometer. Beef, pork, lamb, and veal should reach a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Ground meat should reach about 160 degrees (F), and poultry 165 degrees (F). Luna says it is harder to keep cooking areas clean. "The wind picks up a lot of dirt, but I make sure to use the lid of the grill."
The health department says to not put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry. Older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of getting sick from contaminated food.
The Laredo Health Department also advises to always keep your hands clean. They say hand sanitizers are not a substitute for hand washing.