FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE             Connecticut Department of Public Health

July 3, 2008                                               Contact: William Gerrish

                                                                 (860) 509-7270



Hartford – This summer season, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) reminds the public of the importance of keeping food safety in mind when grilling outdoors. 

With the warm summer months, many Connecticut residents will be taking part in outdoor activities, including outdoor barbecues.  When grilling outside it is very important that people remember food safety.  “This Fourth of July holiday, many of us will be spending time with our family and friends at barbecues and picnics,” said DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, MD, MPH, MBA.  “It is important that people remember that food safety is just as important when you’re cooking outside as it is when you’re cooking inside.”

Here are a few food safety tips to avoid getting sick when cooking outdoors during the summer season:

  • Wash hands - Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water and dry your hands with a paper towel following restroom use, before preparing foods, after handling raw meat or before eating.  Be sure to wash hands thoroughly after handling raw meat products and before handling other foods.  Clean hands will help prevent the spread of potentially illness-causing microorganisms. 
  • Clean - Wash and sanitize food-contact surfaces often.  To sanitize utensils, immerse for one minute in clean, hot water at 170 degrees Fahrenheit, or immerse for at least one minute in a clean solution containing at least 50 parts per million of chlorine (one teaspoon of 5.25 percent household bleach per gallon of water).  Bacteria can spread and get onto cutting boards, knives and counter tops.  Wash fruits and vegetables before preparing.
  • Separate utensils - Be sure to use separate plates and utensils for cooked and uncooked foods.  Bacteria from uncooked meats and poultry can be dangerous if they contaminate cooked food.
  • Take temperatures - Cook food thoroughly.  The most common minimum internal cooking temperatures are 158 degrees Fahrenheit for hamburgers, 145 degrees Fahrenheit for steaks and ribs, and 165 degrees Fahrenheit for poultry.  Be sure to use a food thermometer to check temperatures. 
  • Keep it cold (or hot) - Keep cold food refrigerated until it is ready to be placed on the grill.  Consume immediately or hold hot on the grill.  Do not hold cooked foods at room temperature.  Cooked, hot foods should be kept at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer.  Cold foods should be kept below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.  Don’t let temperature-sensitive food sit outside.

For more information and free literature about food safety, contact the DPH Food Protection Program at (860) 509-7297.


The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state.  To contact the department, please visit its website at or call (860) 509-7270.