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Grilling Safely

Charlyn Fargo on

Many of us keep our grill handy all year long, but we typically use it more in the summer months. As the temperatures rise, grilling your food is a great way to keep the kitchen cool.

Our family grills meat, seafood, poultry, vegetables and even fruit -- the grill brings out the flavors in a way that other cooking methods don't. When you think about grilling, it's important to think also about food safety.

A recent study by the Food and Drug Administration found that there is an increase in the number of foodborne illnesses during the warm summer months. Each year, there are about 48 million cases of foodborne illness -- the equivalent of sickening 1 in 6 Americans each year. And these illnesses result in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths yearly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here are a few food safety tips for grilling safely.

No. 1. Thaw safely. Keep meat, poultry, and seafood cool until you are ready to use it. Leaving food on countertops provides bacteria the opportunity to multiply and reach dangerous levels. And it is even more important to keep these items cool in warmer weather. If the temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, the time needed for harmful bacteria to reach unsafe levels can be as little as one hour. It's best to thaw items in the refrigerator on the lowest shelf to reduce the risk of contaminating other foods.

No. 2. Use a marinade only once. A marinade is a savory, usually acidic sauce in which meat, poultry, seafood or a vegetable are soaked to either enrich flavor or tenderize. When marinating, always keep foods refrigerated. When it's time to grill, discard the marinade or bring it to a full boil to destroy any harmful bacteria.

 

No. 3 Cook to the right temperature. To do that, you need to use a thermometer rather than relying on color. Cook beef, pork, veal, lamb roasts, steaks and chops to a minimum internal temperature of least 145 F. Cook ground beef, veal, lamb and pork to a minimum internal temperature of at least 160 F. And cook poultry to a minimum safe internal temperature of 165 F.

Q and A

Q: What are liquid aminos?

A: Liquid aminos are culinary seasonings that have a look and flavor similar to soy sauce and are made by treating soybeans with an acid solution to break them down into free amino acids, or by fermenting coconut sap with salt and water. They have a salty and savory flavor. Compared to soy sauce, aminos have less sodium and are gluten free. They are also a source of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Try them as a replacement for soy sauce.

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