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Let’s Get Grilling: Standards for Outdoor Grills Ensure Cookout Safety

New York, Jul 03, 2008

Over the holiday weekend, families across the nation will be firing up the grill for a traditional Fourth of July barbeque. Gas and electric grills produce some of the tastiest hamburgers and hot dogs around, and standards ensure that outdoor cooking remains a safe summer pastime.

Gas grills are a great choice for most consumers; however, working with highly-flammable cooking gas would be extremely dangerous without safety standards in place. An American National Standard developed by CSA America, a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) outlines the requirements for design, performance, construction, and quality of outdoor gas grills. ANSI Z21.89-2007/CSA 1.18-2007, Outdoor Cooking Specialty Gas Appliances, details specifications that protect the safety of users of gas grills, while also ensuring that the grills perform as expected.

In order to get a gas grill fired up, barbeque chefs need a steady flame. Keeping safety in mind, many choose to use special utility lighters, designed with a long handle and a quick-lighting flame that keeps hands as far away from the grill as possible. These utility lighters are designed in accordance with the safety requirements in a standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO 22702:2003, Utility lighters - General consumer-safety requirements, helps to protect the well-being of consumers using such lighters, also known as grill lighters, fireplace lighters, lighting rods, or gas matches.

ISO 22702:2003 was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 61, Plastics. ASTM International, an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, is the secretariat for TC 61, and also serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator for this committee. Dr. Michael M. Fisher, director of technology at the American Plastics Council, serves as the committee’s chairperson.

Some outdoor chefs prefer the steady heat of an electric grill. IEC 60335-2-78 Ed. 2.0 b:2005, Household and similar electrical appliances - Safety - Part 2-78: Particular requirements for outdoor barbecues, deals with the safety of electric outdoor barbecues rated under 250V. This standard, developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), ensures the safe use of outdoor electric grills all summer long.

IEC 60335-2-78 was developed by TC 61, Safety of household and similar electrical appliances. Secretariat duties for TC 61 are performed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an ANSI member and audited designator. UL also serves as the U.S. National Committee (USNC)-approved U.S. TAG Administrator to TC 61, carrying U.S. positions forward to the committee.

With standards in place to ensure the health and well-being of experienced barbeque chefs and novices alike, Independence Day celebrations can be safe and fun for the whole family. But fires and burns aren’t the only danger present at barbeques. Undercooking meat, chicken, and fish can cause food-borne illnesses caused by harmful bacteria. Using a meat thermometer is a great way to ensure that food served fresh off the grill is safe for consumption.

Simply eyeing meat for color and consistency isn’t enough – the USDA states that one out of every four hamburgers turns brown before it reaches a safe internal temperature.

The USDA recommends the following minimum internal temperatures for food at risk of being undercooked:

  • Steaks & Roasts - 145 °F
  • Fish - 145 °F
  • Pork - 160 °F
  • Ground Beef - 160 °F
  • Egg Dishes - 160 °F
  • Chicken Breasts - 165 °F
  • Whole Poultry - 165 °F

Is it done yet? Click here for more UDSA tips on food safety.

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