Barbecue Safety Tips From Westchester County Health Department

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Barbecue Safety Tips

Westchester County Department of Health is reminding residents that barbecue season is also peak season for food poisoning.

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"The number of bacterial food poisoning cases from E. Coli and salmonella rise in the summer months," said Dr. Joshua Lipsman, Commissioner of Health for Westchester County. "The warm weather causes food to spoil more quickly and it is easy to get lax with food hygiene precautions when cooking outdoors."

Anyone who has had a bout of food poisoning knows that it can be a very unpleasant experience. Foodborne illness can sometimes be very serious, requiring hospitalization, and may even be fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that foodborne illnesses result in more than 300,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths each year throughout the United States. The Westchester County Health Department is offering the following guidelines to residents for safe barbecuing and picnicking this summer:

* Remember to thaw meat and poultry slowly in the refrigerator or under cold running water before cooking. Microwave defrosting is acceptable if the meat will be cooked immediately afterwards.

* Harmful bacteria usually grow in the "danger zone" between 40

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