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It's high season for grilling and backyard barbecues, with July 4 celebrations planned across the country. But experts say it’s important to be aware that the popular summer pastime is riddled with minefields when it comes to health and food safety.
“Grilling is generally a healthy way to cook food if you take certain precautions,” says registered dietitian Joan Salge Blake, an associate professor at Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
Tips - Blake - Experts
Here are some tips from Blake and other experts:
Avoid food contamination: Mixing cooked food with juices from raw meat is a big no-no. “When it comes to food safety, we have to be careful about cross-contamination,” Blake tells Newsmax Health. “People bring the raw meat out on a platter, grill it and then put it back on the same platter without washing it. That’s how you can transfer pathogens that can cause a range of food-borne illnesses.”
Thermometer - Eyes - Meat - Hamburgers - Temperature
Use a thermometer: You can’t trust your eyes to tell you whether or not meat is cooked enough. “One in four hamburgers turn brown prematurely, before they are at a safe internal temperature to be consumed,” says Blake. “Rather than trust our vision to determine if food is safe to eat, use a meat thermometer and make sure the internal heat is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Keep the flame down: Cooking with high heat from an open fire creates carcinogenic compounds in beef, pork, poultry, and seafood. So while that flame-licked steak or salmon may have a great grilled flavor, it also contains heterocyclic amines (HCAs) from the charred part and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from the fire’s smoke. Lab studies suggest that they can cause mutations in DNA that may boost the risk of cancer.
Pre-cook - Meat - Way - HCAs - PAHs
Pre-cook meat: One way to reduce HCAs and PAHs is to partially cook meat — by boiling...
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