What's at steak? Tips to avoid food poisoning this BBQ season

Transcript - What's at steak? Tips to avoid food poisoning this BBQ season

Transcript - What's at steak? Tips to avoid food poisoning this BBQ season

Woman, reading through recipe books, couple chopping vegetables on cutting board. Shish kabobs grilling on a barbecue

Is your usual barbeque fare in need a bit of a pick-me-up? Looking to get inspired with some new seasonal dishes you can create on your backyard grill?

Summer entertaining is a great excuse to experiment with new BBQ recipes.

Family playing in the backyard- prepares to eat a meal together at picnic table

As a host, it's not only important to prepare a delicious meal, but also one that's safe to serve.

Text on screen: "every year 4 million Canadians get food poisoning"

Every year 4 million Canadians get food poisoning.

Woman in grocery store

And while most contaminants that cause food poisoning can't be seen, smelled or even tasted Dr. Jeff Farber, Director, Bureau of Microbial Hazards Health Canada says there are many steps you can take to lower the risks of food poisoning and protect you and your family

Dr. Jeff Farber, Director, Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Health Canada

...here's how:

Dr. Jeff Farber: "Food can really become contaminated at any point in what is referred to as the food continuum or the farm-to-the-fork so it can become contaminated at the farm level, it can become contaminated once it leaves the farm and goes to the processing level, the processor, and finally in the consumers' home...."

Overview of a farmers' field, agriculture machinery in use, then a family enjoying a meal at the dinner table) 

Dr. Jeff Farber: "Now we have certain groups that have become more susceptible to foodborne illness. We usually talk about these four groups as people with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, children age five and under and adults aged sixty and older."

A pregnant woman eating a salad, a child eats and a family with grandparents enjoying a picnic outdoors

While cookouts, picnics and gatherings are a great way to connect with others, preparing food outdoors in warm weather can present a number of food safety issues.

A couple enjoys a meal outdoors at night; person marinates pieces of steak, raw seafood and steaks cooking on an outdoor grill

Dr. Farber says applying simple safe food handling practices that include: keeping raw and cooked foods separate minimizes the likelihood of cross contamination; as well, chilling or refrigerating foods promptly to ensure that bacteria are kept at bay and thoroughly cooking meats not only makes grilling efficient but also protects the wellbeing of your guests.

A woman opens a fridge door and removes packaged meat; hamburgers are cooking on a grill and a woman washes her hands.

Text on screen: Wash your hands. Clean kitchen surfaces, plates and utensils that have come in contact with raw meat, poultry, fish or shellfish. Dr. Jeff Farber appears on screen

Dr. Farber: "First off, it's very important to wash your hands before you start barbequing; wash all your utensils and surfaces. After you cook your meat it's very important not to place your cooked meat back onto the same plate that contained the raw meat because you could get cross contamination and bacteria such as listeria and E Coli. It's also very important to cook your meat to a safe internal temperature; use a digital thermometer- a digital thermometer is the one we've determined to be the most accurate in terms of measuring the internal temperature of meat. It's also important to note that different meats have different safe internal temperatures."

A woman cleans the kitchen countertop with paper towel, while outdoors- she takes cooked hamburgers from the barbeque and places them on a clean dinner plate. Chart describing various internal meat temperatures

Chart reads to cook:

  • Poultry pieces to 74°C or 165°F, whole poultry to 85°C or 185°F
  • Seafood and fish to 70°C or 158°F, shellfish to 74°C or 165°F
  • Ground meat and Meat mixtures (including: burgers, sausages, meatballs, casseroles and mechanically tenderized meats)
    • Beef, veal, lamb and pork to 71°C or 160°F
    • Poultry (for example: chicken, turkey) to 74°C or 165°F
  • Beef, Veal and Lamb Pieces and Whole. For Medium-rare, to 63°C or 145°F, Medium to 71°C or 160°F, Well done to 77°C or 170°F
  • Pork (pieces or whole) to 71°C or 160°F

Steps to determining the safe internal temperature include:

Removing meat from the grill and inserting the thermometer through the thickest part.

A woman inserts a digital thermometer into a piece of steak and into hamburgers while checking the internal temperature reading

Ensure the thermometer doesn't touch the bone as this part of the meat heats-up first.

Since temperatures on a grill may vary, be sure to check each piece of meat separately.

And, the digital thermometer should be inserted all the way through the side to the centre of hamburgers to ensure they're thoroughly cooked.

Dr. Jeff Farber appears on screen

Dr. Farber: "A good tip to remember is to keep hot foods hot and cold food cold; and by hot we mean temperatures of 60C or greater and by cold we mean temperatures of 4C or less. And always remember- when in doubt throw it out."

A table is set with a variety of barbeque dishes.

Text on screen: "For more visit: Canada.ca/health"

Health Canada offers a host of tips and tools on safe barbecue practices. Visit Canada.ca/health

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