How to Avoid Food Poisoning

7 May 2013 On The Menu

Food poisoning can ruin a cottage weekend. Fortunately, it is easily avoided when we follow a few simple steps.

Tips to Avoid Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is always a risk when cooking with chicken so we need to take a bit of extra care when preparing the cabin meal.

Infographic: How to avoid food poisoning at the cottage
How to avoid food poisoning

How do you avoid food poisoning when cooking on the barbecue?
Wash Your Hands
Always wash your hands before handling the food. This ensures that you don’t transfer any bacteria to the food right from the beginning.

Separate Utensils
Use separate plates and utensils for handling raw and cooked meat. Putting the cooked meat on clean plates will avoid contamination from any bacteria that might have been on the meat before it was cooked.

Never Re-use Marinade
Don’t use the original marinade sauce for basting. Cooking usually kills any germs that might have been in the marinade but basting with it just adds them on top again and they might not get cooked.

Use The Microwave
Thaw food in the fridge or microwave. This is a safer way to prevent bacteria from getting onto the food. Leaving food to thaw on the counter or in the sink is very risky.

Pre-cook Chicken
Cooking chicken in the microwave or oven before you place it on the bbq is a good idea because chicken is a high risk meat.

Pre-heat the BBQ
It is best to put meat on the BBQ when the BBQ has reached the required cooking temperature. Meat that is thrown onto a cold grill can get contaminated.

Use A Thermometer
A thermometer is the safest and most reliable way to ensure the food reaches the required cooking temperatures. The temperature gauge on the BBQ itself is often inaccurate and shouldn’t be relied on.
Each BBQ is different and a thermometer is the safest way to make sure that the heat is at the required level for the particular type of meat that you are cooking.

Seal Leftovers
Store leftovers in sealed containers and eat them within two days. Bacteria can develop on leftovers very quickly and may cause a lot of grief, especially if you like to eat your leftovers without reheating them.

What are the recommended safe cooking temperatures for beef, chicken and pork?
Each class of food has a recommended safe cooking temperature.

Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts)
Medium-rare 63°C (145°F)
Medium 71°C (160°F)
Well-done 77°C (170°F)
Pieces and whole cuts 71°C (160°F)
Poultry (e.g. chicken, turkey, duck)
Pieces 74°C (165°F)
Whole 85°C (185°F)
Ground meat and meat mixtures (burgers, sausages, casseroles)
Beef, veal, lamb and pork 71°C (160°F)
Poultry 74°C (165°F)
Egg dishes 74°C (165°F)
Hot dogs, stuffing, leftovers 74°C (165°F)

Source: Health Canada

Need more cottage food tips?
Go to the Planning Cottage Dinners page.
Go to the Cottage Meals and Recipes page for our simple and tasty cabin recipes.
Go to the BBQ Maintenance page to see the tips on troubleshooting and repairs.
Go to the Cooking On The BBQ page for beginner tips for how to use a BBQ.