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By Paula Ebben

BOSTON (CBS) – We’re all grilling this time of year, but barbecuing can present some health concerns.

Here are some simple steps you can follow to make sure you’re family stays healthy.

Like most suburban dads Jeff Ahern is excited to be firing up his grill this summer.

“I love barbecuing because it is at my own pace and there is something better about food you make, it tastes better,” says Ahern.

There are a handful of hidden challenges that people like Ahern are facing every time they barbeque.

The first challenge for cooks like Jeff is to avoid cross contamination.  That means keeping uncooked food totally separate from the finished product.

Joan Salge Blake, a professor of nutrition at Boston University has one solution to avoiding cross contamination

She says to make “two marinades, one that will be a marinade and that you will throw away, and one that you will use as you barbecue, never should the two meet.”

The cross contamination rule goes for utensils and cutting boards as well.

“While you may cook the meat and cooking kills the pathogens, if those vegetables are not going to be cooked and they go into a tossed salad, now we have cross contamination,” Salge Blake explained.

Also, consider the hot sun when it comes to how long you leave cold food dishes out.

“If it is 90 degrees or higher, you should really remove it after an hour,” said Salge Blake.

Be mindful of the temperature when you cook, too.

“For example, the inside of hamburger should come to about 160 degrees Fahrenheit.  And you can no longer cook with 20/20 vision, because sometimes the meat will turn brown but it didn’t reach the internal temperature so a thermometer is your best friend when you are grilling,” said Salge Blake.

One of the basics for safe food preparation is cleanliness.

A recent survey revealed a cleanliness problem. While men are more likely to take over the grilling, the results revealed men are also less likely to wash their hands prior to handling food.

Salge Blake suggests keeping a canister of towelettes by the grill.

If you’re not careful when grilling in the summer sickness is possible.

“You can get food poisoning and let me tell you that is no day at the beach!” said Salge Blake

But, by following these small easy steps, it will help guarantee a safer, cleaner, and healthier summer barbeque.


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