The summertime in most places across America means rolling out the BBQ grill and serving up some delicious eats for family and friends. While everyone seems to like a freshly-grilled steak or ear of corn, certainly no one likes getting food poisoning due to a cook’s mistakes. Food poisoning can be a serious health hazard, too, causing severe dehydration, high fevers, nausea and vomiting, and general weakness for days in the worst of cases. To help prevent food poisoning at your summer BBQ, remember these tips:
- Check the temperature: Food poisoning is caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites within food. Cooking food at certain temperatures and for certain amounts of time is the most effective way to destroy potentially dangerous foodborne bacteria. Every type of meat and vegetable you cook at your BBQ will have a specific recommended temperature for safe cooking. For example, chicken is usually safe if it has an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Look up all recommended cooking temperatures for all your food, buy a cooking thermometer, and use it accordingly to ensure your dishes are safe for eating.
- Cold storage: Just as the temperature of a food being cooked is highly important to prevent food poisoning, so is the temperature at which food is stored. Food kept in cold storage becomes much more resistant to bacterial growth. Setting your freezer to 0 degrees Fahrenheit is generally cold enough for all meats and vegetables you might store. Remember to bring in groceries and store them as soon as possible. It can be dangerous to keep meat and poultry in your vehicle for too long during the summer, when the temperature outside is hot enough to rapidly thaw frozen products.
- Clean all tools and utensils: Cross-contamination is another big offender of food poisoning. Raw poultry is susceptible to carrying salmonella and other viruses not found on red meat. If there is cross-contamination, you might cook your red meat at too low a temperature, not realizing you have not cooked it long enough to destroy the salmonella on it. To stop cross-contamination, clean all tools and utensils before and after each use.
- Wash your hands: Your hands need to be cleaned all the time while grilling or in the kitchen, too. Everything you touch unfortunately creates another opportunity for cross-contamination. If you have anyone helping you prepare foods, make certain they know to wash their hands often as well.
- Ask about allergies: Sometimes food poisoning-like symptoms can be caused by food allergies. In worse situations, someone might be put into a life-threatening situation if they consume a particular food. For example, many people are dangerously allergic to avocado. Ask all your BBQ guests about potential allergens and adjust your menu. Do not forget to use entirely separate cutting boards and knives for foods flagged as an allergen of one of your guests. Even tiny amounts can be enough to trigger severe symptoms.
If you or a loved one experience food poisoning that sends you to the hospital due to the negligence of another chef, you might be able to seek compensation for your medical bills through a premises liability claim. You can contact our Toledo personal injury lawyers from Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A. to discover if you have grounds to file a claim, and what to do next if you do.