Food safety is Karen Tucker's area of expertise. As Agrilife Extension Agent she routinely tells people how to serve foods safely.
Number one tip is to start by washing your hands. All kinds of bacteria, including e-coli, can be passed on by dirty hands.
Next you want to avoid cross contamination when serving meats and dairy products. Tucker advised, " You take a plate of raw hamburger patties out to the grill you need to use a fresh clean plate to put the cooked ones on so you don't cross contaminate. "
A big risk when eating foods cooked out doors or from a cooler is having them stored or served at the wrong temperature. Hot items must remain very hot. Cold items must remain very cold. Cook everything thoroughly from hot dogs to homemade ice cream. Tucker said, " You need to make sure you're using pasteurized eggs and what that means is that the eggs that are in your product have been heated to a temperature to kill the bacteria that's in those eggs. " Use thermometers to avoid creating a haven for bacteria. Those are the germs that cause all kinds of food bourn illnesses that bring those symptoms that no one likes talking about. Tucker said, " The thing about it is it's hard to pin point the exact illness because a lot of symptom are similar."
Outdoor cooking can be tasty and fun. It doesn't have to be avoided if everyone learns and takes the proper food safety precautions.