Food safety tips and outdoor eating

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7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda has 7 tips for food safety this summer. (WABC)

From seasoning to sizzle, grilling season is heating up. But before you skewer, think safety.

"With proper preparation, you can have your party set up for success," said Jennifer Beck, Lifestyle Editor of "Every Day with Rachel Ray".

Jennifer Beck is the Lifestyle Editor of "Every Day with Rachel Ray" Magazine.

To avoid contamination she reminds, always start with clean hands.

Cover up food, and make sure you marinate in the fridge, not out on the kitchen counter.

"The longer it sits, the more bacteria can grow and the more things deteriorate over time," Beck said.

And once you take the meat out, never leave it outside in the sun.

"Raw meat outside, how long would it survive?" 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda asked.

"Not very long," Beck said.

"Are we talking five, 10 minutes, before it starts to go bad?" Pineda asked.

"Probably," Beck said.

"Wow that is fast," Pineda said.

But don't serve your food too fast.

To avoid food like pasta salad or desserts from spoiling in the sun, Beck says bring it out in stages, nothing should be out for more than an hour or two maximum.

Put enough out for everyone to have their first serving and then like an hour later refill your bowl," Beck said.

Keep salads, especially those made with mayo, cold until the last minute, placing in ice packs or in bowls of ice to serve helps.

"Fresh mayo is egg based so it's really something that's going to degrade over time," Beck said.

Next onto the grill, clean your grill after each use.

If it's the first time you're using it this season, check the gas connection to make sure it's tight.

When it's time to grill, bring everything you think you'll need out at once, don't leave a hot grill unattended.

Which means bring out clean trays for serving and separate tongs to use for raw and cooked food.

"When I'm ready, I'm going to grab a clean utensil from this side and not worry about cross contamination anywhere," Beck said.

Also, make sure the grill isn't too close to the house.

"We are expecting some nasty weather; people may be tempted to bring grills under awning or in a garage even that is a no-no!" Beck said.

Another big no-no, is spraying or pouring oil onto the grill because that will flare up.

Remember to oil your food, not the grill.

"It's important to have a fire extinguisher nearby because a garden hose will not put out all the flames," Beck said.

And a bonus tip is to grill in zones with veggies, chicken, and meat in its own space.

That way everyone can enjoy outdoor eating without the risk of getting sick.

Related Topics:
foodfoodfood safetygrilling7 On Your Side
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