Many people agree that grilling is the most flavorful way to prepare foods - especially during the summer.

Many people agree that grilling is the most flavorful way to prepare foods especially during the summer. Whether you are a backyard chef or like to grill beside the lake, these simple guidelines will help insure an enjoyable cookout:
Wash your hands with soap and water 20 to 30 seconds before and after handling food. Marinate food in the refrigerator not on the counter. Never serve marinade you used for raw beef, poultry or seafood unless you boil it for at least one minute. Transfer food immediately to the grill if you partially cooked it in the microwave or oven. If you are transporting meat or poultry, cook until it is done and chill before packing it in the cooler with ice. Use a thermometer to confirm grilled food is cooked to a safe temperature. You can not determine if food is properly cooked by looking at it. The following foods should be cooked to the temperatures listed: Beef, veal, lamb, pork steaks and roasts-145F Seafood-145F Ground beef, veal, lamb and pork-160F Poultry and ground poultry-165F
Use clean plates and utensils for cooked foods. Never place cooked food on the same plate that held raw meat, poultry or seafood. Keep hot foods hot. Never let cooked foods sit at room temperatures for more than two hours. If it is 90 degrees or warmer, foods should not sit at room temperature for more than an hour. Use crock pots, warming plates or chaffing pans to keep hot foods hot (140F or warmer). Keep cold foods cold. As with cooked foods, never let raw meat, poultry, seafood, fruits and vegetables sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Refrigerate food, store it in a cooler with ice, or place a small dish of food in a larger dish containing ice so the internal temperature remains below 41F.
Remember, grilled food that is not properly cooked can make you sick. Keeping food safe will help assure your next cookout is healthy and delicious.

Gina Nicholson is a registered sanitarian with the state of Ohio and a food-safety specialist with the Kroger Co.