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8/14/2012 - Don't let up on grilling safety

Grilling safety can prevent fires.

While grilling enthusiasts fire up their hibachis throughout the year, it's particularly common in the summer. So much so, that by the time September rolls around, they may have used their grills dozens of times. Because of this, they may unintentionally shirk some of their responsibilities when it comes to ensuring that the food they cook is prepared properly.

However, the National Restaurant Association is advising grillers to be vigilant every time they prepare a meal.

"In professional kitchens, trained staff and multiple safeguards ensure that food safety protocol is followed, but at home it's easy to let food safety practices be as casual as the food you are cooking on the grill," said Greg Beachey, program manager for the National Restaurant Association's Educational Research Foundation. "To underscore that importance, we collected tips from our professional food safety training experts and applied them to outdoor grilling at home or picnics."

These tips include washing hands thoroughly, preparing raw and ready-to-eat foods separately to avoid cross contamination and cooking foods all the way through. Properly cooked poultry should generally have an internal temperature of about 165 degrees Fahrenheit, while red meat should be approximately 155 degrees.

Grilling experts also advise individuals not to cook too close to their homes, as every year, thousands of homeowners insurance claims are filed due to home fires from grills. The National Fire Protection Association says an average of 8,200 home fires resulting from barbecues occur in the U.S. annually.

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