(NC) - When barbecuing, use the following tips from Health Canada to safely prepare, cook, serve and store ground beef:
Wash hands thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds, with warm water and soap, before and after handling raw meat.
Clean and sanitize all utensils and work surfaces with soap and water after preparing each food item and before you move on to the next food. For added protection, sanitize utensils and counter surfaces with a mild bleach solution of 5 ml (1 tsp) bleach to 750 mL (3 cups) of water.
Use different utensils for raw and cooked meat or thoroughly wash them between uses. This includes flipping spatulas, tongs, food thermometers, plates, trays, etc.
Ensure the gas barbecue is pre-heated before starting to cook. If using a charcoal barbecue, use enough charcoal and make sure it is glowing red before starting to cook.
Keep raw meat away from cooked meat; do not use the same plate to carry burgers to and from the barbecue. Keep salads and perishable foods in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve them. If food is being stored in a cooler, pack the cooler with ice or freezer packs. Keep lid closed as much as possible, store cooler in shade and away from birds and animals.
Use a food thermometer to ensure that the hamburger has reached a safe internal temperature. All ground beef products should be cooked to 71 C (160 F). Insert a probe-type instant-read thermometer through the side of the beef patty until the tip reaches the centre. Fork -style thermometers can be inserted through the top into the centre of the patty.
Reduce the heat of the gas barbecue or raise the height of the charcoal grill if food starts to burn during cooking, but ensure that correct internal temperature is still met. Remember that colour is not an indicator that the patty is safe to eat.
Keep serving bowls covered.
Put cooked food on a clean plate.
Eat food as soon as it is ready.
Clean and sanitize all utensils and work surfaces.
Store leftovers within 2 hours in separate shallow, covered containers in the refrigerator and eat within 3 days. Reheat leftovers to 74 C (165 F), using a food thermometer to check the temperature.