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Grilling Precautions for Your Church Barbeque

In an effort to take advantage of the sun and warmer temperatures, many churches will host summer picnics or barbeques. While these events offer a fun activity for church members and staff, improper grilling and food serving practices could lead to unfortunate illness.

Consider these guidelines for grilling food safely at your next church picnic or barbeque:

  • Transporting – When moving food to another location, use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice to keep it cold to minimize bacterial growth.

  • Keep Cold Food Cold – Meat and poultry should be kept refrigerated until immediately prior to placing on the grill. Keep coolers out of the direct sun and avoid opening the lid too often.

  • Keep Everything Clean – Be sure there are plenty of clean utensils and platters, and have a fresh supply of clean water or cloths for cleaning surfaces and hands. Do not use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry.

  • Cook Food Thoroughly – Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature according to the following chart:

Whole poultry 165 degrees Fahrenheit
Poultry breasts 165 degrees Fahrenheit
Ground poultry 165 degrees Fahrenheit
Ground meats 160 degrees Fahrenheit
Beef, pork, lamb and veal
(steaks, roasts, chops)
145 degrees Fahrenheit
(allow to rest at least three minutes)
  • Keep Hot Food Hot – After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served — at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer.

  • Serving Food – Use a clean platter when taking food off of the grill, and do not use a platter that held raw meat or poultry. In hot weather (above 90 degrees Fahrenheit), food should never sit out for more than one hour.

  • Leftovers – Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers. Discard any food left out more than two hours (one hour if temperatures are above 90 degrees Fahrenheit).

For more information, review the Barbeque and Food Safety information packet from the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service.

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