Fall Diet

Avoid Food Illnesses When You Grill This Summer

With the re-emergence of summer, outdoor activities become far more prevalent, as many people take advantage of their opportunity to enjoy spending more time outside.

This can encompass involvement in outdoor exercising through sports and recreation, along with making improvements to the house and yard.

However, it can also signify a time in which an increase in grilling becomes more prominent, as many of you will prefer to transfer some of the time that is spent preparing and cooking food in your kitchen to undertaking those steps at your favorite area outside. This will allow you to relish the smell and taste of grilled food, while also enjoying your time spent with family and friends.

But this increase in summertime grilling also coincides with a rise in emergencies due to fires and burns as the result of cooking on propane and charcoal grills. This was discussed in a recent article and the surge in serious problems that can occur should compel grill owners to follow critical steps that will reduce the risk of emergencies for themselves and anyone around them.

The Risk Of Food Poisoning

The need for exercising safety also applies to the process of preparing your food for the grill, and you should continue adhering to precautionary measures throughout the process of cooking it on your grill. The U.S. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) has stated that foodborne illness is both common and costly. One in every six Americans will become ill as the result of contaminated food or beverages each year, while 3,000 will die. The U.S. Department Of Agriculture has also estimated that foodborne illnesses cost more than $15.6 billion each year.

76 million people in the U.S. are also diagnosed with food poisoning every year. In the majority of cases, this results from eating meat poultry and other animal products that are undercooked. Salmonella and e-coli are bacteria that often dwell in chicken, beef, and other meats. If these meats are cooked at a temperature that is too low, then the opportunity to kill bacteria and other germs is lost.

This can ultimately cause problems with the intestinal tract, which leads to uncomfortable and unwelcome symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. While food poisoning can be mild, it can also be serious. In fact, 325,000 people are sent to the hospital each year due to food poisoning.

The effects of food poisoning are extremely uncomfortable regardless of the specific situation and can include unwanted conditions such as dehydration and the additional issues that were listed above. Unfortunately, food poisoning can also become life-threatening in certain cases.

However, illness from food is also preventable if you remember a list of basic safety tips. This will dramatically reduce the risk of illness due to food that was improperly handled or cooked during the grilling process. Instead, grilling can be a safe and healthy experience for everyone involved provided that these basic precautions are followed every time you cook food on your grill.

Steps For Safe Grilling

First, meat, poultry, and seafood should remain refrigerated until it is time for you to cook. If you are transporting to meat to another location, it should be kept in an insulated cooler that contains a temperature that remains below 40°F

You should also separate your food by keeping raw meat away from other food items such as vegetables and fruits that are not going to be cooked. This will allow you to avoid bacterial cross-contamination. This process occurs when bacteria or other microorganisms are accidentally transferred from one substance or object to another, with harmful effect.

You should make sure that your hands are cleaned with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before you prepare food, and again after you have handled raw meat.

Raw meat should be also be cut on a different surface away from other foods. After you have finished cutting the meat, every item that was used in the process including a cutting board, utensils, plates, etc. should be clean with hot water and soap. You should also use new plates and utensils when you serve cooked food.

When you are grilling the meat you should be absolutely certain that it is cooked thoroughly by inserting a food thermometer into the thickest part of each meat patty. Proper temperatures for various meats include:   

  • Whole Chicken or turkey: 165F
  • Chicken or turkey breasts (boneless): 165 F
  • Ground chicken or turkey: 165 F
  • Hamburgers, ground beef: 160 F
  • Beef roasts or steaks: Medium rare 145 F; medium 160 F; well done 170 F
  • Pork chops, tenderloins, or roasts: 145 F for at least 4 minutes of resting time
  • Ground pork and organ meats: 160 F
  • Fish: 145 F
  • Hot dogs: 165 F or steaming hot

Finally, once you have completed the grilling process, any leftover meat should be kept warm (140 F or hotter), put it in the refrigerator within two hours (within 1 hour if the temperature outside is over 90 F), and also freeze any ground meat or poultry that you don’t use within 1-2 days.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning

If you are someone in your family experiences an upset stomach, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, fever or vomiting, then this is an indication that food poisoning could be the culprit.

Anyone who is contending with a fever of 102 or greater, diarrhea that has lingered for at least three days, or repeated vomiting that prohibits the consumption of liquids should seek medical attention. This is also the case if any blood appears in stools, or if dizziness occurs when attempts are made to stand up.  

At Rapid Med Urgent Care Center We Can Help 

At Rapid Med Urgent Care Center, we want you and your family to enjoy all of your activities this summer while remaining safe in the process. If you have any questions or concerns about grilling activities, other food preparation, or if you have questions about a health issue of any kind, do not hesitate to contact us. At Rapid Med Urgent Care Center, not only do we offer immediate medical attention for conditions that are not critical or life-threatening, but we also provide both primary and preventive care.

Our Primary Care 

  • After Hours Care Available
  • Continuity Of Care
  • Health Maintenance
  • Patient Education
  • Vaccinations

Our Preventative Care 

  • Alcohol Misuse Screening & Counseling
  • Atherosclerosis Risk Factor Modification
  • Blood Pressure Screening
  • Cancer Screening
  • Cholesterol Screening
  • Depression Screening
  • HIV-STD Screening
  • Immunizations
  • Obesity Screening & Counseling
  • Type 2 Diabetes Screening
  • Weight Management
  • Wellness Exams

In addition to visiting our offices at either location, you can receive the same great care and consideration by using our On Demand service through your phone, tablet, or computer.

Regardless of how you contact us, we can also assist you, or answer any questions regarding any of these other medical problems.

Our Urgent Care

Phil Clark
Phil’s experience as a writer enabled him to generate advertising and marketing material throughout his career in the television industry before he expanded his level of knowledge by creating various promotional elements for all forms of media in other industries. He has also produced articles that have been published in numerous publications and websites, including usatoday.com, and USA Today’s football magazine, where he wrote weekly columns and player profiles for multiple years. He has also worked with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Vizio, and has a BS in Broadcasting from Indiana State University.
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