Whether camping in the woods or entertaining friends and family al fresco on your patio, nothing begins summer best than firing up the grill with your favourite steaks and smokies.

Here are some food safety tips for making the most of the summer season while staying safe from food contamination.

Deep Clean Your BBQ Grill Before Use

If you’re firing up your outdoor grill for the first time in months, or you’ve already hosted several barbeque parties and notice char-colored gunk building up, it’s due for a good scrubbing. A dirty gas or charcoal grill can negatively affect your meats’ flavor, and a sparkling clean grill will reduce the risk of flare-ups and fire hazards due to excess grease and grime.

Follow these steps to clean a barbeque grill naturally:

  • Moisten the grill with vinegar and water. Sprinkle with baking soda, let it fizzle, and soak for 10 minutes. Baking soda and vinegar helps loosen up stubborn dirt and food deposits.
  • Remove the grates and use a putty knife or a spatula to lift and scrape the gunk.
  • Rinse and dry with paper towels or cotton rags.

Practice Proper Hand Cleaning

Whether you’re the chef in charge of the barbeque or just a hungry spectator excited for dinner, always wash your hands properly before cooking or eating food. If you are camping outdoors and have no access to running water, make sure to bring a separate jug specifically for hand washing, or bring moist disposable towelettes and sanitizer.

Hand washing is an important step to take before handling food or starting to cook. It’s the easiest and obvious way to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses. So, whether you’re slicing up veggies or seasoning your proteins, don’t forget to take a quick trip to the sink to suds up. Your stomach, and your family and friends will thank you. After all, nothing ruins a meal faster than a bout of food poisoning!

Store and Handle Raw Meat Separately from Deli and Other Ready-to-Eat Foods

Cross-contamination happens when you’re not careful about proper food handling and storing.

  • Marinate meat in the fridge. Never let it sit on the kitchen counter or outdoors.
  • Keep raw meat, seafood, and poultry securely wrapped away from ready-to-eat foods like deli meats and vegetables.
  • Use a different knife, platter and cutting board when preparing raw meat. Never re-use until thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water.
  • Always have a ready stack of clean platters for serving your cooked grilled meat and veggies.
  • Cook meat thoroughly. Color and texture can be unreliable. Have a food thermometer on hand to ensure meat is cooked properly.
  • Keep leftover food covered to protect from flies and other bacteria carrying insects.

Opt for Deli Instead of Raw Meats

Limiting your barbeque menu to deli meats, which are pre-cooked, is safer and simpler than dealing with raw alternatives, especially when camping. Treat yourself to MCLEAN Organic smokies that are free from nitrites and preservatives, and seasoned to perfection.

Got any more barbeque or food safety tips to add? We’d love to hear them. Please share them with us in the comments below.

Jade Piper of HappyCleans is a writer and mother based in Indianapolis. She is a keen environmentalist and in her spare time enjoys gardening, reading, and listening to music.

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