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HomeGerman HealthcareIt's grill season! Do you know how to prevent salmonella when grilling?

It’s grill season! Do you know how to prevent salmonella when grilling?

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Grilling without salmonella – This is how you prevent the nasty bacteria from spreading

Crispy chicken legs, crunchy vegetables and homemade potato salad: grilling is simply a pleasure in most German households! However, especially during the warm summer months, salmonella can form and turn the barbecue dream into a nightmare. The bacteria love warmth and attack the human gastrointestinal tract. The consequences: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and fever. Depending on the intensity, even organs can be affected in the long term. It is all the more important that you pay attention to good meat quality and the right hygiene when preparing your dishes. Below is how you can grill without salmonella.

What are salmonella?

Salmonella are small, rod-shaped bacteria that live in the gastrointestinal tract of a wide variety of animals. They usually multiply at temperatures between 10 and 47 ° C, can survive on certain foods for several months and also defy lower temperatures, for example when freezing. Only when the food in which it has already multiplied is heated to more than 70 ° C for at least 10 minutes will it be killed.

Where do salmonella occur and under which conditions do the bacteria multiply particularly quickly?

Salmonella is most common in foods made from farm animals such as pork, beef, and poultry. Insufficiently heated eggs, egg-containing foods, mayonnaise, milk ice cream and raw or insufficiently heated meat are often attacked by the bacteria. In addition, one study showed that Salmonella multiply even in sliced, packaged lettuce.

Salmonella generally like it warm. If the meat has been kissed by the sun’s rays for a long time in summer, the likelihood increases that the bacteria have already spread. Even if cold chains are interrupted for too long, the nasty bacteria can already multiply. It is therefore important that you put your groceries in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible after shopping.

Liquid source of danger: Salmonella are particularly common in the thawing water of fish and chicken.

Other foods can also be infected by salmonella through contact with contaminated food. Many germs can be found in the thawing water of frozen fish, for example. If this gets onto the work surface, on which other foods are also prepared later, it can be transferred.

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Mistake in handling food

Often there is a strong increase in Salmonella because the food is stored incorrectly.

As mentioned earlier, you should always keep foods that can contain salmonella in the refrigerator. The respective temperatures are noted on the packaging. In addition, you should make sure that they do not come into direct contact with other foods, especially not if you want to eat them raw.

Tip: If the plastic packaging of the food is already puffing up, this could be a sign that bacteria have already spread. Then you’d better throw the pack away.

If you serve ice cream for dessert, make sure that the package doesn’t sit outside the freezer for too long. If the ice has already melted, bacteria could have formed that will not be killed by freezing again.

salmonella when grilling

This is how you can prevent salmonella in everyday life

There are a few things to watch out for to keep it from spreading in the first place. It is particularly important that you pay attention to your own hygiene. In general, you should wash your hands thoroughly before preparing any food. But especially after you’ve come into contact with meat, fish, and raw eggs, you need to wash your hands again.

The thawing water from frozen poultry or fish should be collected separately and disposed of immediately. It is important that you also rinse with hot water and also wash the surfaces with which the defrosted water has come into contact with hot water.

It is essential to wash off: Cutting boards and cutlery that has come into contact with raw meat should always be cleaned with very hot water and washing-up liquid before it comes into contact with other foods.

It is essential to wash off

Cutting boards and cutlery that has come into contact with raw meat should always be cleaned with very hot water and washing-up liquid before it comes into contact with other foods.

It is similar with cutting boards. There are a few things to consider here. For one thing, you should wash a board on which you have previously prepared food that may contain salmonella, thoroughly with hot water and washing-up liquid, before you prepare other dishes on it. Otherwise, the bacteria could spread very easily, especially in foods that are consumed raw. 

In addition, it is important to pay attention to the nature of the material. Cracked and porous wood is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. If you notice something like this, you should definitely sand your board.

salmonella when grilling

Plastic cutting boards also suffer from grooves and sharp cuts over time. You should simply exchange these boards. Boards made of glass and stone are particularly practical because they can be washed off thoroughly. However, knives wear out faster on this surface and become blunt. Cutlery, bowls and everything else that you use to prepare the food should either be put in the dishwasher immediately or alternatively washed with hot water.

Salmonella are true survivors and can survive on almost any surface. This also applies to textiles. Tea towels and sponges often stay damp or wet somewhere and thus form the perfect breeding ground for salmonella and other bacteria. 

You should therefore not come into contact with raw meat or other salmonella-containing foods in the first place. If meat and the like have to be dabbed off, paper towels are particularly suitable because you can dispose of them immediately. So that nothing can lodge in textiles, you should wash tea towels in the boil wash and wash sponges with hot water or put them in the microwave for 30 seconds. In addition, you should generally exchange them for new ones on a regular basis.

salmonella when grilling

Grill poultry properly

Salmonella is particularly common in poultry. So that you can enjoy everything while grilling without hesitation, we give you a few specific tips. These are also applicable to all other types of food.

Take a cooler bag with you when you go shopping so as not to interrupt the cold chain.

When you want to thaw poultry, remove them from the packaging and place them in a glass bowl in the refrigerator.

During preparation, the core temperature should be at least 70 ° C. The meat should look whitish, it should no longer have any bloody spots.

When using grill utensils, make sure that you use different tongs for raw and finished meat. In addition, you shouldn’t place the finished food on the plate that the raw food was on.

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Tim Gumbert
Tim is the go-to guy when it comes to finding all the gems regarding life as an Expat in Germany. His whole motto is discover Germany on your own and without a roadmap, explore new routes while climbing or mountain biking.
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