Residents across Nassau County will be firing up their barbecues as they celebrate the official start to summer on Memorial Day.
While the warm weather is a great time for outdoor cooking and picnics, it is also a time where foodborne illnesses and bacteria thrive.
Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein and County Executive Ed Mangano released a list of reminders and tips to safeguard Memorial Day treats:
- When storing or transporting food, keep the food’s temperature below 40 F. or above 140 F.
- When preparing poultry, pork or beef, make certain it is cooked until the juices run clear. The best way to check that cooked foods are safe to eat, including those foods cooked on a barbecue, is to measure their internal cooking temperature with a chef’s type of stem thermometer. Poultry should reach 165 F. on the thermometer; ground beef should reach 158 F.; pork should reach 150 F.; solid cuts of meat or fish should reach 140 F.
- Never reuse plates, utensils, cutting boards or any other item that previously held raw meat, poultry or seafood for serving – unless they have been washed first in hot, soapy water.
- Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. If some of the marinade is to be used as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a portion of the marinade before putting raw meat or poultry in it. Do not reuse marinade.
- To help prevent foodborne diseases such as Hepatitis A, Salmonella, E.coli and other diseases, be aware of personal hygiene. Do not touch food which is ready to eat with bare hands. Remember to wash your hands after sneezing, coughing, using the toilet or changing diapers. And, if you are ill, do not prepare food at all.
- Refrigerate any leftovers immediately! Never leave food at room temperature for more than two hours.
Call the Nassau County Department of Health at (516) 227-9717 for more information on warm weather dining and foodborne illnesses. Officials are available weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.