Avoid Risky Grilling Habits, Study Says

You fired up the grill. You have the chicken and spices. But do you know the right recipe for safety?

Maybe not, according to a new study from the University of California, Davis. The research showed that many individuals are undercooking chicken and increasing the risk of cross contamination and food-borne illnesses.

The researchers used video to analyze the cooking habits of 120 people handling raw chicken and other food products.

Here are the findings:

  • Hand-washing: The majority of participants — 65 percent — failed to wash their hands before they started cooking. And after handling raw chicken, nearly 40 percent did not wash up. Correct hand-washing procedures were followed by only 10 percent.
  • Chicken preps: About 50 percent washed raw chicken in the sink, a step that is NOT recommended by the  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)  because washing raw chicken can spread harmful bacteria (cross contamination) to other kitchen surfaces.
  • Undercooking: About 40 percent of the individuals surveyed undercooked their meat, and nearly 70 percent of the participants failed to use a meat thermometer to check to see if the chicken had reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit — the correct internal cooking temperature recommended by the USDA. 
  • “The most surprising aspect of these findings to me was the prevalence of undercooking,” said Christine Bruhn, director of the Center for Consumer research at UC Davis, who authored the study, which was reported on Yahoo news.

    “We are now in summer, the peak season for food-borne illness, and these results come at a time when more consumers can benefit from being aware of better food safety practices,” she said.

    You can minimize health risks by following safe food handling and grilling procedures, according to Tomas Villanueva, D.O., an internal medicine specialist, who is also assistant vice president and medical director for Baptist Health Medical Group.

    “Wipe surfaces often,” Dr. Villanueva said. “Bacteria from undercooked meat can grow on vegetables that have been cut or washed on the same surface as the meat. Mix and use a sanitizer solution of one capful of chlorine bleach per gallon of water for cleaning work-area surfaces.”

    For more cooking safety tips, check out: 10 Tips for Safe Grilling





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