Dr. Mike Ragain, a family physician at the Texas Tech Medical Center, says there are some safety tips to keep in mind when handling meat on the grill.
"Whenever you put uncooked meats on a platter, the bacteria that are in those meats can come off onto the platter, and then, if you put cooked meats back on the top of the platter that you used before, you can get what's called cross contamination," says Dr. Ragain.
If meat is not cooked properly or has been contaminated by bacteria, it can lead to food poisoning.
"When you have been exposed to food that's contaminated by bacteria, typically, the first symptoms are gastrointestinal-type symptoms. You may have some nausea, maybe some vomiting, some diarrhea, some abdominal cramping. You may or may not have a fever associated with it. This illness can progress to be more severe, in which case, you may see blood in diarrhea and have more severe abdominal cramps and can lead to a need for hospital treatment," adds Dr. Ragain.
To make sure the meat is cooked properly, you can either use a meat thermometer or cut into the food to make certain it's done. There should be no pink left in ground beef or in chicken.
Barbecue is certainly fun to make and a lot better to eat, and some folks just know how to get it right. But make sure your summer is a happy and healthy one.
Dr. Smith recommends cooking or grilling foods for a longer period of time at a lower heat to avoid overcooking. If part of the meat is charred, don't eat it, it can be cut off and thrown away.
Chemicals that can cause cancer are formed through high temperature cooking and these chemicals have been associated with breast cancer and colon cancer, so you don't want to get your food too well done, but it should be cooked well enough.