We’re coming up to a stretch of some very hot days here in Bellingham. What better way to make a great meal without having to heat up your kitchen than a barbeque! Food safety guidelines are just as important out of doors as they are in. Below are some barbeque food safety tips you might like to brush up on:

When grocery shopping…

  • Wait to put meat, fish, and poultry into your cart until you’ve already loaded up the non-perishables 
  • Most stores have a roll of bags near the meat and poultry department. Use them to keep those products separate from the other items in your cart to prevent cross-contamination, as well as some yucky leaks. 
  • Save your grocery errand to the end so you can get right home and put meat and seafood into the fridge or freezer. 
  • Not using poultry or ground meat for a couple days? Freeze it. Place other meat in the freezer if you’re not planning to cook it within five days.


  • Let meat and poultry thaw completely before grilling so that it cooks evenly. Completely thaw meat and poultry before grilling so it cooks evenly.
  • It’s best to let meat and poultry thaw in the fridge over several hours. 
  • Need it a bit quicker? Sealed packages can be thawed in cold water. For a slightly quicker option, sealed packages may be thawed in cold water.
  • If you’re in a hurry, defrost meat in the microwave, and make sure to grill immediately after. 


  • Seal meats in a Ziploc or Tupperware in the fridge to marinate, not in the kitchen sink (spouses, you know who you are. Take note.) 
  • Let ’em stew in their juices. Poultry and cubed meat or stew meat can marinate for up to two days. It’s a whopping five days for beef, veal, lamb, and chops.
  • Don’t re-use marinade for other purposes. If you’re planning to use it on other foods, make enough initially and set it aside. 
  • But, if you must re-use it, boil it first so that you destroy harmful bacteria. 

Keep meat cold

  • Refrigerate meat and poultry until ready to cook. 
  • Cooler care: Use one cooler for drinks, one for meats. This keeps folks from frequently opening and closing the lid and letting out the cold air. 


  • Avoid cross-contamination, and don’t use the same dishware for anything that has held raw meat until you’ve washed it with soap first. 
  • Wash hands after handling raw meat.


  • You’ve got a green light to microwave meats to begin the cooking process, or use the oven or stove, and then finish it on the grill. 

Cook thoroughly

  • Meats must be cooked to their recommended internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.
  • Cook all raw beef, pork, chops and roasts, lamb and veal steaks to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or eating.
  • Ground Meats: Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F.
  • Poultry: Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.
  • Use a meat thermometer. It’s the only way to tell how hot the meat is inside. 
  • One and done – don’t grill meat or poultry, take it off and let it cool then put it back on. 


  • When re-heating fully cooked meats; grill to 165 °F or until food is steaming hot in the center.
  • Keep cooked food hot
  • After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served at a temperature of 140 °F or warmer.
  • Set cooked meats on the side of the grill rack or in a heated oven set to 200 °F once they are cooked.


  • Remember, don’t serve cooked meat on the same platter you placed the raw meat.
  • If the temperature is higher than 90 °F, the maximum amount of time food can safely sit out is one hour. Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow, covered containers.

Now for the fun stuff:

It’s berry picking season! Check out this article for links to recommended U-Pick farms in Whatcom County.

Indepence Day Safety Tips

And here’s a story of how we helped one teenaged girl and her family recover after a terrible firecracker accident left her partially blind.

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