Labor Day is upon us and before we kiss Summer 2018 goodbye we are headed into three days of relaxation and firing up the grill. However, while fun should be the focus, it’s important to remember the age-old motto: safety first.

So, before you jump head first into a long weekend with family and friends, there are a few things you should know to keep everyone healthy and safe!

Keep Calm & Don’t Cross Contaminate
We get it—things can get a little crazy during a cookout. As the host, you’re juggling entertaining your guests, serving the food, and making sure there’s plenty of sunscreen to go around. But it’s important to keep track of what tools you use for handling raw meat and which are used for cooked meat. The key is that you never risk the possibility of cross-contamination by haphazardly reusing plates or tools.

Need an easy way to keep track of what kitchenware has been used with what? Color code your cookout! Designate specific colors for each food item you are serving up. Go to your local dollar store and purchase different colored disposable plastic cutlery and paper plates. This way it’s easier to remember which plates or tools have been used for each item.

Raw is not your friend
It is common knowledge to store raw meat and other perishable items in a cold place for as long as possible, and of course, get rid of raw meat altogether if its been out longer than two hours. Keep track of how long your perishables are left out, and be mindful of where you store food.

A commonly overlooked, but necessary, item to have on hand while grilling is a high-quality meat thermometer. Use it to test your meat before serving, and to carefully clean it when switching between items. 

Check out this handy reference chart from the USDA to always be sure you are cooking your meat to the right temperature.

Don’t Partially Pre-Cook Food
Unless you plan on grilling your meat immediately, partially heating your food ahead of time is a huge no-no. When only slightly warming meat, bacteria have an ideal environment to breed rampantly. If your food needs to thaw out a bit, do it safely by putting it in a microwave and then promptly cooking it after. Thawing raw meat can also be accomplished by tightly wrapping it and placing it in a leak-proof bag in a bowl of cold water in a refrigerator (but be sure to change the water every 30 minutes).

Save time (and decrease the chances of raw meat sitting out during your cookout) by picking up a package of Schweid & Sons Burgers from your local supermarket. Need more convincing why preformed is best? Check out our blog on why premade patties are the way to go.

Always Keep Hot Food Hot
Temperature plays a massive part in food safety. If you’re hosting an at-home BBQ, keep hot foods fresh off the grill in an oven preheated to 200 degrees. Don’t have the luxury of an oven? Set freshly grilled food aside so it’s not directly over the flames or coals, but close enough to the heat source that it still stays warm.

Following these easy safety food tips will guarantee that your weekend be relaxing and fun, and your barbeque be perfect! All you have to do now is remember the sunscreen and make sure you have purchased some Schweid & Sons patties.

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