Date: May 22, 2019

Partly cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers early this evening. Fog patches developing late this evening. Wind southeast 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming light this evening. Low 12.


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Cooking at a Barbeque

This page was reviewed or revised on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 11:14 AM

Along with the warm weather comes camping, picnics and outdoor cooking. However, as the thermometer rises, so too does the incidence of food borne illness. "Food borne illness" is the technical name for "food poisoning".

The reason for the dramatic increase in food borne illness in summer is two fold. In general, from a biological perspective, the hot weather and the humidity, that are associated with the summer months, also generate conditions that are more conducive to the growth of bacteria and the production of their toxins. Secondly, it is the upswing in those outdoor activities, we so love, such as picnics and barbecuing that present the opportunity to handle food without means for proper refrigeration and sanitation.

Therefore, with an increased risk of food borne illness in the summer months, there is an increased need for awareness of safe food handling practices. Use these simple guidelines to ensure you and your family and friends have a safe outdoor meal.


  • Marinate meats in the refrigerator not on the counter.
  • DO NOT re-use any portion that has been used on raw meat as the final baste for cooked meats.
  • It is wise to reserve a portion of the fresh marinade, that hasn't had raw meat in it, for finishing touches.


  • Partially cooking meat or poultry ahead of time can greatly reduce the amount of grilling time, particularly for thick cuts of meat.
  • However, such a practice is only safe if the food then goes immediately onto the grill.
  • Fully cooking meat or poultry ahead of time must be followed by prompt refrigeration. These products can then be safely reheated on the grill, to give them that barbecue flavour, but ensure that they are reheated to an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F).

Safe Cooking

To prepare the meal safely consider all aspects of preparation.

  • Personal hygiene, handwashing and utensil sanitation are all important factors when it comes to safe food handling.
  • Wash all forks, brushes and plates that come into contact with raw products before using them to handle cooked food.
  • Be sure to take a fresh plate out to the grill to hold the cooked food. Bacteria that may be in the juices of raw products could spread to the cooked food if it is placed on the plate that held the raw products.
  • Minimize the quantity of food you bring outside. Allow food to remain in refrigerated conditions until its opportunity to be placed on the grill.
  • DO NOT allow food to sit at ambient temperatures. Bacteria that are allowed to grow on meats and poultry during storage at ambient temperatures may produce toxins that may not be destroyed by cooking, even if the product is cooked well done.
  • Cook foods thoroughly. For optimal safety, meat should reach an internal temperature of 71°C (160°F) and poultry should reach an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F).
  • Although it is best to use a stem or probe thermometer to determine internal temperatures, in their absence slice the meat to ensure there are no signs of pink and the juices run clear.
  • Ensuring foods are thoroughly cooked is imperative when cooking foods made of ground meat, such as hamburgers.

Serving the Food

  • Once food is prepared serve it immediately.
  • During service, hazardous foods should not be out of refrigeration for more than two hours.
  • The hotter the ambient temperature the shorter the duration that food can sit out.
  • If the temperature is above 30°C (85°F), service time should be kept to no longer than an hour.
  • Promptly refrigerate any leftovers, dividing larger quantities into small shallow containers.
  • If returning from an outing, leftovers that weren't out for extended periods of time and have been properly cooled can be saved. However, when it comes to deciding what foods to keep the best policy to adopt is "When in doubt, throw it out!"
  • The elderly and children are more susceptible to food borne illness. Therefore, remembering to thoroughly cook foods, keep hot foods hot, cold foods cold and the need for proper sanitation, will help to keep this year's outdoor cooking events fun for everyone.