BBQ Safety Tips & Health Information For Proper Food Handling - Home

BBQ Safety Tips & Health Information For Proper Food Handling

Date: June 14, 2017

This time of year we think about outdoor fun, swimming, vacations and of course, barbecues.  When it comes to eating outdoors and using the barbecue, we need to remember that there are health and safety precautions and practices that must be implemented and followed in order to keep our food, family and friends safe.


  • Make sure the food you purchase is fresh from the market to home
  • Do not store perishable foods in a hot car for an extended period of time
  • Store meats, fish, poultry, etc. in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as it comes home
  • Make sure meats, fish, poultry, etc. are rotated for freshness
  • Frozen foods must be thawed safely (refer to USDA website for details)
  • Raw foods must be stored on shelves below prepared, ready-to-eat foods like salads
  • Marinate foods in the refrigerator and not on the counter or outside
  • Always clean surfaces that touch raw foods, meats, fish, poultry, etc. before using food that will not be cooked or are already prepared, such as potato salad, cole slaw, fruit salad, etc.


  • Make sure the grill is clean before use
  • Use an appropriate scrub brush to clean BBQ (make sure metal bristles are not on grill from scrubber brush)
  • Make sure all gas lines are properly connected
  • Use safety and distance when using charcoal and lighter fluid
  • Never leave lighter fluid or matches where children can access them
  • Make sure everyone know when the grill is on so no one gets accidentally burned
  • Tongs and utensils should be stored in a clean and safe manner (keep knives safely stored)
  • Always have a first aid kit on-hand including burn cream and bandages



  • Make sure meat, fish, poultry, etc. is cooked thoroughly (see website links for proper cooking temperatures)
  • You can store perishable items in an ice chest before cooking, but make sure this ice is only used for the meats, fish, poultry, etc. and not for drinks or other similar use
  • Partial cooking before grilling is acceptable (see websites for more details)
  • Foods, once cooked, as well as already prepared foods, should be stored so as to be protected from flies and dirt (aluminum foil, plastic covers, waxed paper, etc.)
  • Foods left in the sun (out of temperature) spoil much faster (after 2 hours discard leftover foods)

There are a number of illnesses associated with eating improperly cooked or handled foods.  Some of these illnesses are as a result of e.coli, salmonella and shigella bacteria.  The following are ways to help prevent the spread of illness associated with these bacteria:

  • Make sure food preparation surfaces are cleaned in-between each item used
  • Make sure food is handled with utensils, gloves, etc.
  • Make sure proper food storage temperatures are adhered to before, during and after storing, cooking and serving
  • Keep a calibrated thermometer on hand to routinely check food temperatures
  • Make sure you wash your hands before, during and after food handling, especially raw meats and fish
  • Make sure uneaten food that is sitting out of temperature is discarded in a timely fashion


For more information on safe food handling, eating outdoors and safe food temperatures, please go to the following websites: