The Uninvited Guest
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that food-borne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year."
Many food-borne illnesses can be traced directly to improper preparation and handling, by well-intentioned volunteers. In order to address this important issue, Darnall Medical Center's Preventive Medicine, Environmental Health Service, offers Food Safety classes. [more...]
Be Safe When You Grill
Beware when you barbecue. In 1998 alone, there were 6,100 reported home fires involving gas or charcoal grills in the U.S., leading to $29.1 million in direct property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Agency.
- When using barbecue grills on decks or patios, be sure to leave sufficient space from siding and eaves. Wind can blow flames a long distance. Flaring flames should not be able to reach siding and eaves, nor other combustibles/flammables. Keep starter fluids at a safe distance.
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
- Keep children and pets far away from grills.
- With charcoal grills, only use charcoal starter fluids designed for barbecue grills and do not add fluid after coals have been lit.
- With gas grills, be sure that the hose connection is tight and check hoses carefully for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks.
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and have the grill repaired by a professional, if necessary.
For More Information contact the Fort Hood Fire Marshall: 288-5437
Food Safety When You Grill
- Try to plan just the right amount of foods to take. That way, you won't have to worry about the storage or safety of leftovers.
- If there are leftovers, throw them out unless you can safely keep them chilled until you get home. If there is still ice in the cooler when you get home, the leftovers should be okay to eat. When in doubt, throw it out!
- Any leftovers left outside for more than an hour should be discarded.
- Clean preparation is essential. Wash hands and work areas; be sure all utensils are clean before preparing food.
- Foods that are cooked ahead need to be completed in plenty of time to chill thoroughly in the refrigerator before being packed (unless, of course you are taking measures to transport and serve hot food). Use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice or ice packs to keep the food at 40F or colder. Pack food from the refrigerator right into the cooler.
- Pack foods in the cooler in the order opposite of how you'll be using them. In other words, pack the food you'll need last at the bottom and so on.
- A cooler chest can also be used to keep hot food hot. Line the cooler with a heavy kitchen towel for extra insulation and place well wrapped hot foods inside. It's amazing how long the foods will stay not only warm, but hot. Try to use a cooler that is just the right size to pack fairly tightly with hot food so less heat escapes.
- Don't pack coolers in the trunk, carry them inside the air-conditioned car.
- As much as possible, keep coolers in the shade while at the picnic.
- Keep cooler lids closed and avoid unnecessary openings.
- It's a good idea to use a separate cooler for drinks, so the one containing perishable food won't be constantly opened and closed.
- Replenish the ice if it melts.
- When preparing chicken, egg, or cold meat salads, or anything other recipes featuring mayonnaise, refrigerate it as soon as possible, and keep cold right up until packing time.
- When handling raw meat, remove from the cooler only the amount that will fit on the grill at that time.
- To be sure bacteria are destroyed, cook hamburgers and ribs to 160 degrees F (medium doneness) or until the center is no longer pink and the juices are clear. Cook ground poultry to 165F and poultry parts to 180F.
- Do not partially grill meat to use later. Once you begin cooking meat by any method, cook until completely done to assure that bacteria are destroyed.
- When taking foods off the grill, put them on a clean plate, not the same platter that held raw meat.
- Control the flames on a barbecue grill by having a pint spray bottle of water mixed with 1 teaspoon baking soda.
For more information, contact:
- Nutrition Care 288-8860
- Preventive Medicine, Environmental Health Service 288-1665
- Darnall Safety Office 288-8477
- III Corps Fort Hood Safety Office 287-3459
Additional Links / Information
- New Worker Food Safety Presentation - Provides training material to satisfy an 8 hr. introductory food safety course for new food workers.
- Person in Charge Food Safety Course provides training material to satisfy a 40 hr. Person in Charge Food Safety Certification Requirement.
- More information about Food Safety from the Nutrition Clinic
- More information about foodborne infections
- FoodSafety.Gov website provides reference material on Food Safety.
page last modified on: 5/17/2013