SOURCES: Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, news release, April 10, 2015
SUNDAY, April 12, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Barbecues and picnics are synonymous with warm weather, and following food safety rules will help ensure that everyone stays healthy, an expert says.
"First and foremost, remember that the 'time-temperature danger zone' is between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F," said Rebecca Blake, director of clinical nutrition at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York City. "Foods should not be left in this temperature range for more than two hours. If it is, it should be thrown away immediately."
On very hot days, when temperatures top 90 degrees F., food should be left out for no more than one hour, she noted.
"Leaving food out too long at room [or outdoor] temperatures can cause bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, E. coli and Campylobacter) to grow to dangerous levels that can make us sick -- usually with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea," Blake said.
She also recommends using a meat thermometer to be certain that foods are fully cooked. Internal temperatures should be at least 165 degrees F. for poultry, at least 160 degrees F. for burgers and egg products, and at least 140 degrees F. for steaks and chops, she said.
Blake outlined barbecue safety tips in a Mount Sinai news release:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more barbecue food safety tips.