USA Today tells us that we need to bring a thermometer to our 4th of July cookout – and any BBQ really – for our own health.
Where’s the Beef? I Need to Take Its Temperature.
[pullquote]Beef burgers should reach 160°[/pullquote]Doug Powell – food safety scientist and creator of barfblog.com – says he takes a thermometer to every summer cookout and wants us to get into the habit of doing the same. You can learn, with practice, to stick the thermometer in a hamburger patty without slicing it in half. Insert the thermometer sideways, or through the top. Beef burgers should reach 160° in order to kill germs. You can’t always tell by the color. A burger can be browned on the outside. Its the internal temperature that matters.
And Its Not Just Burgers
[pullquote]Always slice your own cantaloupe and keep it refrigerated.[/pullquote]More than 260 people were ill in a salmonella outbreak in 2012 with almost 100 hospitalized and 3 deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The soft, bumpy skin of the cantaloupe soaks up bacteria like a sponge and washing them doesn’t make a difference. When you cut through a cantaloupe it carries the bacteria from the skin to the edible flesh. Keeping it refrigerated is the key because the cold temperatures slow the bacteria’s growth. NEVER buy a cantaloupe already sliced in half at the grocery store. Powell says leaving them wrapped in plastic in the produce aisle is “a microbiological disaster waiting to happen.”
Other Picnic Foods
[pullquote]You need a cooler at your picnic.[/pullquote]Always use a cooler away from home to keep cantaloupe, potato salad, egg salad sandwiches and other picnic foods cold so bacteria doesn’t get a chance to grow. But you don’t have to be afraid of mayonnaise anymore because “commercial mayo uses pasteurized eggs and has high levels of vinegar and the acid content controls bacteria growth.”
So there you have it. Do you want to be popular or healthy this 4th of July. You decide.
Photo of radio meat thermometer: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc
Essential Barbecue Meat Temperatures Infographic: Madgetech
Photo of Stormtroopers with cooler: ShellyS via photopin cc
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