Grilling Food Safely When Camping

Camping is a popular warm weather activity in the state of Maryland.  It's a great way to enjoy the beauty of the region and one of the best reasons to light up the grill for lunch or dinner.  However, this fun activity also poses a food safety challenge.  High temperatures and humidity during the warmer months help harmful bacteria to grow that could result in making people sick.  The best way to keep your family and friends safe from food poisoning when camping is to plan ahead and follow these four simple steps.
·         Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds. 
·         Bring wet wipes to clean hands and surfaces.
·         Bring clean utensils, disposable plates and trash bags.
·         Bring dry, moist and soapy towels to wash down surfaces.
·         When carrying food away from home, prevent juices from raw meats from dripping on other foods.
o   Package raw meats separately and store them in the bottom of the cooler; (or)
o   Use two different coolers for raw meats and other foods.
·         Use a different cutting board for produce and raw meats.
·         Cut the meats with the lowest cooking temperature first.
·         Use a different platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat.
·         Completely thaw meat and poultry before grilling.
·         Never partially cook meat or poultry before grilling unless it goes immediately on the preheated grill to complete cooking.
·         Always use a food thermometer to cook meat and poultry to safe temperatures.
·         When carrying food away from home, place it in a cooler with ice or freezer packs.
·         Keep meat and poultry cold until ready to use.
·         Keep food out of the Temperature Danger Zone (40°F – 140°F) by keeping cold food cold and hot foods hot.
·         Keep the cooler in a cool, shaded area and avoid opening the lid too often.
These four simple steps will help you to protect the health of your family and friends and ensure that your camping experience is fun and enjoyable.  Just remember -- when in doubt, throw it out!


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