News from STOP Foodborne Illness

Your Guide to Safe Grilling this Summer

The smoky smell of the grill full of your favorite meats—chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, and ribs. Nothing says summer quite like it!

With grilling season heating up, STOP Foodborne Illness is right on top of what you need to know to keep your summertime grilling food both safe and delicious.

So, before you fire up the grill, follow our safe grilling guide to help prevent harmful pathogens from making their way into the food you grill up this summer season:


Don’t Cross-Contaminate

  • Keep meat and poultry separate from other food items in your cart.
  • Wrap meats and poultry in plastic produce bags so juices don’t drip on other groceries.

Bring a Cooler

  • Use a cooler to transport food, especially raw meats, home from the store on hot days.

Use Ice

  • Ask for ice (or buy some) that you can use to pack your raw meat and poultry in.
  • Remember: Bacteria grow rapidly in the “danger zone” of temperatures between 40°F – 140°F (warmer than when refrigerated/colder than when cooked).


Keep It Clean

  • Start with clean surfaces and clean hands. Hands should be washed with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food. Wash surfaces that come in contact with raw and cooked foods before you start and frequently as you cook.
  • While proper hand washing is best, keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer handy and use it often to help keep hands bacteria-free.

Use Different Coolers When Traveling

  • Transport raw meat in a dedicated cooler. Use a different cooler for other foods.
  • Fully-cooked and prepared items can be stored with cold beverages. 

Don’t Reuse Marinade for Basting

  • Instead, set some marinade aside ahead of time that won’t come in contact with food until fully cooked. Use this as your finishing sauce.
  • Discard marinades or sauces that have come in contact with raw meat juices.

Keep Raw Foods Separated

  • Use separate platters and utensils for raw and cooked food.
  • Don’t serve cooked food on platters that were used with raw food unless they’ve been washed thoroughly with soap and hot water between uses. 

Cook to Safe Temperature

  • Don’t begin cooking until you’ve got your most important tool: A meat thermometer. Use this to ensure food is cooked to safe temperatures and clean it between readings.
  • Burgers/Ground Meat: 160°F or 71°C
  • Grilled Chicken and Poultry Products: 165°F or 74°C
  • Hot Dogs: 165°F or 74°C
  • Fish: 145°F or 63°C
  • Whole Cuts of Meat (including pork): 145°F or 63°C + let it rest for 3 minutes.
  • Click here for our safe cooking temperatures chart.
  • Check and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for your grill. It’s important that your grill is hot enough to safely cook your food.

Promptly Chill Leftover Food

  • Don’t allow perishable leftover food to be out for more than 2 hours; 1 hour if the temperature is above 90°F or 32°
  • Store perishables in a refrigerator or cooler. Use ice or gel packs in a cooler to keep food cold.

When In Doubt, Throw It Out 

  • Don’t risk eating questionable leftovers. Contaminated food may not smell or look bad. So, if you suspect something has sat out too long, has come in contact with raw meat, or has been in the fridge more than four days, toss it out.

By following these tips, you’ll be ready to kick-off a fun and food safe summer grilling season. Enjoy!


Tips for Summertime Backyard BBQs and Picnics

BBQ Safety Begins Before Firing Up the Grill


As always, please get in touch if you have questions or would like assistance with any of your food safety concerns. You can reach us at 773-269-6555 or We’d love to hear from you!

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