There's quite a bit of free info on this subject but it can be a bit fragmented. I thought I'd have a look and condense the essentials and add additional information that deals with parasites in food, particularly fish. This is something that is frequently overlooked.
Food Safety for Community Groups. Competitions and BBQ etc.
Simply because we are good safe cooks in the family environment doesn't necessarily mean that we should be over confident when feeding larger groups, particularly away from home. Correct storage of both hot and cold foods is essential if bacterial threats are to be avoided.
There are many free sources of food safety information which would include:
For a copy of Cooking for Groups: A Volunteer’s Guide to Food Safety
, write: FCIC, Item #604H, Pueblo, CO 81009.
What follows, with the exception of the section dealing with parasites, is compiled and condensed from the free resources above.
To avoid food-borne illness
Safe Cooking temperatures
Ground meats and mixtures
- Plan Ahead. Just as if you were at home the cooking location needs sufficient resources to cook, store, refrigerate and freeze. Check to make sure that the water source is clean. Any doubt, take your own.
- Food storage and preparation. Refrigerate or freeze perishables as quickly as possible, no more than 2 hours of purchase is recommended. Use separate areas to prepare raw and cooked foods (cross contamination). For the same reason don't put cooked or processed food on a surface that has previously held raw foods. Wash hands, all utensils and surfaces frequently with hot soapy water.
- Safe internal food temperatures. The only safe way is to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of food, checking in several places. Don't partially cook raw foods for finishing later as this increases the risk of bacterial growth.
- Transport safety. Cold food should be transported at 40f or lower. Use ice to maintain the low temperature. Hot foods need to be maintained at 140f or higher. Wrap well and use insulated containers.
- Reheating. If you need to reheat make sure the food temperature hits 165f evenly. Bring sauces and soups etc to the boil. Remember that the danger zone for bacterial growth is between 40-140 f.
- Leftovers and when to throw it out. Any food that's been sat for 2 hours should be discarded. The exception here is rice . Rice should not be allowed to drop into the danger zone (European advice here is that the danger zone for rice is 41 to 135 f.) as bacteria can grow very quickly in this food. Keep rice hot to serve (at or above 135) f., or cook and chill quickly and refrigerate.
Beef, Pork, Lamb, Veal 160f
Turkey, Chicken 165f
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb
Steaks, Roasts, Chops 145
All Poultry incl. Stuffing
Chicken, Turkey, Duck etc 165
Pork and Ham
Fresh Pork or Ham 160
Reheating pre-cooked Ham 140
Eggs and Egg dishes
Cook eggs until yolk and white are firm
Egg dishes 160
Parasitic worms in Fish
Most species of fish are hosts to parasites which can include Tapeworm and Ringworm etc. Salmon is a known carrier of tapeworm and with the introduction of Sushi into the West the dangers are obvious. It's natural that people like to think that they're buying fresh Salmon, but particularly in the case of Sushi it's vital that the fish has been previously deep frozen, this kills the parasite.
If you are preparing whole or filleted fresh fish for guests at a function, or even at home, the only sure way of preparing it is to cook until the flesh falls easily off the bone. This is an indication that temperatures have risen into the 'safe' zone.
Smoking fish will not kill the parasite unless temperatures are allowed to rise to a point where the flesh falls away.
My own BBQ's have to be a little more constrained. I live on a 30 foot boat and I am able to BBQ on-board. I bought a Cobb a couple of years ago and can easily prepare a BBQ for half a dozen people in my little galley even when it's raining outside. Take a look at my site. I've got videos and recipes there.
My Cobb Grill Page, with Video