May 29, 2008

Preventing Summer Learning Losses

By Janet Golden, 4-H Youth Development & Distance Education Program Leader

4-H summer funSchool is almost out and many parents are frantically planning or finding summertime activities for their kids. If you have not, it is not too late. Many kids will go to day camp or overnight camp, but there are also great activities that you can do as a family to make the summer an extra special time. Not only will your family bond further, your children will not forget the things they learned in school this past year and will be prepared when the new school year starts. According to Ron Fairchild, executive Director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Summer Learning, summer learning is of critical importance. If youth are not engaged in educational activities during the summer they will experience learning losses. In fact a child can lose 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in math. Beyond the learning loss, children need to be involved in activities because unsupervised time is dangerous for kids. They are much more likely to be injured or take part in risky behaviors if they are not engaged in supervised activities. Plus, children gain weight three times faster during the summer if they are not engaged in physical activities and eating healthy. All these reasons are plenty to get you planning some educational activities for summer. The following are some ideas to engage your child’s mind and body and make summer the fulfilling experience it should be.

  • Create a summer activity calendar for the family – By creating a summer calendar for your family, you are not only coming up with a plan for all of your activities, but you are also teaching your child how to plan and organize. It also allows your child to share what they think will be fun, which will cut down on them telling you they are bored, because they were part of the planning process. Depending on their age, you may need to help them by giving them activities to choose from.

  • Teach your child a new skills around the home – Does you child know how to sew on a button, iron clothes, use a washing machine, cook, or make simple repairs around the home? Summer is the perfect time to tackle some of these skills. Your child will learn something that will help them throughout their lives and it is something they most likely will only learn at home.

  • Develop a safety plan for your home with you child – Summer is a time for more accidents, so safety has to be on everyone’s mind. Together develop rules for summer safety around water, bike riding, playing outside, and sun protection. Also, with hurricane season beginning June 1 you can prepare or update your hurricane kit and evacuation plan.

  • Incorporate math into every day activities – As research has shown, math competencies decrease over the summer, so spend extra time on activities that will help your child retain this knowledge. Most kids may not want to sit around and complete math problems, but you can make math fun by incorporating it into daily activities. For example you can calculate distances through Google maps for the places you are going in the car and then calculate the gas it takes to get there. You can also incorporate math while cooking with your child.

  • Create your own summer camp – Maybe your plans do not include sending your child to summer camp, but there is no reason you can not plan for one at home. It would be fun to plan a whole week of activities that normally would take place at a day camp including crafts, outdoor fun, and fieldtrips. You could even have a theme for the week using some of the resources for 4-H day camps throughout Florida.

  • Plan a virtual vacation-Whether or not you plan on taking a summer vacation it is fun to dream big and plan one. You can use the internet with your child to explore the United State and other countries and cultures. You can incorporate math and consumer lessons into this activity as well.

  • Have a family art show-Kids love to do crafts and create art projects. At the end of summer invite some friends and family over for a barbeque and display all the art that was created over the summer.

  • Become a green family - Sustainable living is the process of making small changes that have big impacts on the world around us. Your family can take some simple steps like recycling, reducing energy usage, and walking or riding your bikes instead of driving when possible. In order to make a commitment to being green Take the Pledge and Check Your Green Commitment to decide what habits you will change in order to make the world a better place.

A Parent’s Guide through the Teen Years

By Vestina F. Crayton, Pinellas County Extension, Educational Instructor

teenagersTransitioning into the teen years is an exciting but challenging time for teens and their parents. This is a time when many changes occur. Some are subtle while others are more obvious. Many times parents and teens have to deal with the results of these changes without warning or preparation. What are some of these changes? Extensive research has been done to identify the following four developmental phases that most teens experience: physical, cognitive, social, and moral.

To adequately examine this phase, two age categories will be discussed:
early adolescence – ages 10 to 14 and late adolescence 15-18.

Early Adolescence- Generally speaking, for both boys and girls, physical changes takes place around age 11. Girls put on weight, grow taller, and typically enter puberty two years earlier than boys. Boys experience a height or growth spurt at age 14. This activity explains the awkwardness that many early adolescences exhibit. Such as the lower extremities of the body (hands, legs, feet) out grow the torso which creates a seemingly disproportionate body. Girls have broader hips while boys develop broader shoulders. This differentiation is attributed to the affect of sex hormones on skeletal expansion.

Puberty plays a significant role in the normal physical development of an early adolescent. Girls will grow pubic and underarm hair; start menstruating and budding of the breast will become visible. Boys will grow hair on their face and body, the male reproductive organ will enlarge and the voice will deepen.

Late Adolescence-
At this stage of development, most of the rapid growth occurrences are nearly complete. At age 16 and 17 the height of girls and boys, respectively, have reached its end. Boys display larger skeletal muscle while having larger lung and heart capacity. This allows more transport of oxygen from the lungs to the muscle which would explain the difference in muscle between boys and girls.

How do I handle this phase?
Communication is important. But more importantly, is how you communicate. Being compassionate, understanding, and respectful will help your teen cope with this awkward and possibly uncomfortable phase. Explaining that everyone goes through this and that you will be there every step of the way will alleviate some of the stress your teen may feel and open the lines of communication.

In this developmental phase, youth began to mentally process abstract concepts. They begin to think and start asking questions that are not answered by a simple yes or no. They begin self-evaluating by asking questions like ‘what is my purpose?, and ‘what do others think of me?’ This is a critical time because youth been to start categorizing themselves with others. They begin to define who they are. Because the teen is in the process of developing their cognitive ability, analyzing information can become warped and distorted. Research has identified this phenomenon in two ways – imaginary audience and personal fable.

Imaginary audience is when the teen thinks that everyone is looking at and examining them. This causes the teen to be self-conscious. Personal fable is created in conjunction with the imaginary audience. Because the teen thinks everyone is looking at them, an over-inflated sense of self emerges. The teen may start declaring that they are invincible. If left unmonitored, this mode of thinking may cause the teen to take unnecessary risks such as driving recklessly or engaging in unprotected sex.

How do I handle this phase?
Be patient. Be aware. This is a brand new way of thinking for your teen. Take comfort in knowing that this is normal development for learning to process information.

Social teenagers
Self identity begins to take form in this stage of development. Teens evaluate themselves through their social interactions with parents, peers, and friends. Research has found that as adolescents transition into the teen years, the time spent with family decreases and the time spent with peers and friends increases. In addition, time spent alone grows. A study revealed that on average youth ages 13-16 years old spend 28 minutes a day with parents and 103 minutes with friends and peers (Buhrmester & Carbery, 1992).

It’s during this time that teens seek support from not only their parents but also their peers and friends. Teens will share their thoughts and feelings about school and different career options with parents; however, teens will bond with other teens when it comes to their emotional trials and triumphs.

How do I handle this phase?
Even though it may appear that your teen does not need you as much as when they were an adolescent, don’t panic. This is a time of exploration and discovery for your teen. Take advantage of the time to guide and provide your teen with invaluable input that will help build a solid foundation to make better decisions that will have a significant impact on the their future .

The ability to think about others takes shape during this stage. Teens begin to consider the consequences of their actions. More attention is given to how their values and principles compare and/or contrast with society.

How do I handle this phase?
Celebrate and embrace this level of maturity that your teen has achieved. This is a time that you can witness the values that you have instilled in your teen through their behavior and response to the world. Or, revisit some areas that may need some attention.

To learn more about these four stages of development, Pinellas County 4-H Youth Development offers a 4-H Family Teening-Up program. This program is a two-day, 6-hour interactive workshop designed especially for parents and their teens. Through hands-on learning activities, participants will receive tips and implementation strategies on how to respond to these various stages of development. Having this information and using these tips will help you and your teen move through this exciting time more easily. For more information about this valuable program, contact 4-H Youth Development at (727) 582-2450.


Helping Teens Answer the Question "Who Am I?" Physical Development in Adolescents:

Helping Teens Answer the Question "Who Am I?": Cognitive Development in Adolescents:

Helping Teens Answer the Question "Who Am I?": Social Development in Adolescents:

Middle Childhood and Adolescent Development:

University of Minnesota, Extension, A Parent's Guide to Teens:

4-H Family Teening-Up program:

May 27, 2008

Searching for the Perfect Volunteer Opportunity

By Eric Yuan, 4-H Youth Mentor
Pinellas County Extension, University of Florida/IFAS

volunteeringPerhaps the hardest part of volunteering is not taking the time to give back and help others. The hardest part may just be finding a volunteering opportunity that fits you. In an article written by Nemours Foundation, “Volunteering Isn’t Like School”, it states that one of the first things that you must ask yourself when searching for the perfect place to volunteer is knowing what interests you. If you are interested in working with youth, there are plenty of organizations out there such as Big Brother or a Big Sister or R-Club after school. If you are interested in animals, you can ask a local animal shelter if they are interested in any volunteers. Or if you enjoy helping out the community directly, you can volunteer at a park clean up or a homeless shelter. The point is that there are opportunities to volunteer to suit almost any interest that you may have.
To read the complete article “Volunteering” from the Nemours Foundation visit:

It is also important to know who you want to work with when volunteering. If you enjoy working with a group of peers then it would behoove you to volunteer at a location focused on youth development. If you want to work alone then perhaps being a tutor or a mentor to younger children would suit you better. Maybe even more important than knowing who you want to work with is figuring out when you are available to volunteer. You must always make sure that your volunteer opportunity will not conflict with other existing activities such as a job, sports, or clubs. Furthermore, you must know how much time you will need to commit as a volunteer. For example, will the activity be everyday after school or only on weekends?

After you have a decided on a few possible choices, the next step is to call the organization and see if they are a perfect fit for you. Ask them if they have previously worked with teen volunteers and if they have a volunteer-friendly atmosphere. Another important aspect to inquire about is whether their volunteer program promotes youth development. Volunteering should be an opportunity for you to mature and learn valuable life skills while helping your community.

To help you get started in your search for the perfect volunteer opportunity you can visit
or visit to find some ideas that will help you narrow your search.

If you are looking for a place to volunteer, why not simply take a look at the great volunteer opportunities available at 4-H Extension? 4-H Youth Development is a youth oriented volunteer experience that not only allows for youth to volunteer but also gives them a chance to learn valuable life skills. Youth volunteering opportunities at 4-H can be found both during the school year and in the summer. 4-H has adult volunteering as well. Adult volunteers are greatly appreciated in their year round effort to making 4-H a better place. If you are interested in either youth or adult volunteering feel free to contact the Pinellas County Extension for more information.
Visit the 4-H Extension website to learn more about volunteer opportunities:
The Extension office is located at 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL 33774
Phone number (727) 582-2100

May 22, 2008

Keeping Those Fruits and Veggies Safe to Eat

By Elizabeth Ledoux, Dietetic Intern
Bay Pines Health Care System
Pinellas County Extension, Family & Consumers

fresh fruits and vegetablesThe juicy watermelon. The plump blueberries. The sweet corn on the cob. These are the foods and flavors many of us associate with the summer. Not only do these foods taste great, but fruits and vegetables are good for us because they contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. People who consume a diet with generous amounts of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthful diet are more likely to have a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. However, the recent slew of food borne illnesses associated with produce has discouraged many people from enjoying these health benefits.

Most people have heard about the infamous E. coli outbreak of 2006 in which tainted spinach caused 200 cases of E. coli poisoning, 100 hospitalizations, and 4 deaths. This coincides with an increase in the number and size of outbreaks that have occurred over the last 20-30 years. These tragic episodes should not lead to a stop in eating healthy foods. As you enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables this summer, it is important to handle products safely in order to reduce the risks of food borne illnesses.

The FDA ( recommends the following safe-handling tips to protect yourself and your family from infections:
  • Purchase produce that is not bruised or damaged.

  • Buy fresh cut produce like half a watermelon or bagged mixed salad greens only if these items are refrigerated or surrounded by ice.

  • Bag fresh fruits and vegetables separately from meat, poultry and seafood products when packing them to take home from the market.

  • Store perishable fresh fruits and vegetables (like strawberries, lettuce, herbs, and mushrooms) in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40° F or below.
  • Refrigerate all produce that is purchased pre-cut or peeled to maintain both quality and safety.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing produce.

  • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables before preparing and/or eating. Throw away any produce that looks rotten.

  • Wash fruits and vegetables under running water just before eating, cutting, or cooking, even if you plan to peel the produce. Washing fruits and vegetables with soap, detergent or a commercial produce wash is not recommended.
  • Scrub firm produce, like melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush. Let them air dry before cutting.
  • Keep fruits and vegetables that will be eaten raw separate from other foods such as raw meat, poultry or seafood - and from kitchen utensils used for those products.
  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, and utensils and counter tops with hot water and soap between the preparation of raw meat, poultry and seafood products and the preparation of produce that will not be cooked.

  • For added protection, kitchen sanitizers can be used on cutting boards and counter tops periodically. Try a solution of one teaspoon of chlorine bleach to one quart of water.
  • If you use plastic or other non-porous cutting boards, run them through the dishwasher after use.

For more tips on produce safety visit:

For more information on fruits and vegetables visit:

May 19, 2008

Butterfly Gardening

By Cindy Peacock, Horticulturist, Pinellas County Extension

This is the time of year butterflies are looking for fun, food and love. To attract butterflies all you need is a little space and the right plants. The space that you have can be window boxes, containers or an area in your yard. The butterfly garden should be in full sun or get at least 6 hours of sun. Most of the butterfly plants that are required need the same type of soil and amount of water.

Actually butterfly gardens are very sustainable. The plants are Florida friendly plants which don’t required large amounts of fertilizer or water and they don’t need pesticides. Butterfly gardens are conservation gardens.

red admiral butterflyIt’s important to use the right plants to attract the butterflies. In Pinellas County we have several species of butterflies that we can attract; sulfurs and whites, swallowtails, monarchs, fritillaries and longwings, buckeyes, skippers, blues, hairstreaks and many others.
Watercolor illustration of butterfly lifecycle by Lynda Chandler
Learning the life cycle of a butterfly helps you to know what kind of plants to put in your butterfly garden. The butterfly lays eggs and then the eggs hatch out into caterpillars. After the caterpillar eats for about 2 weeks it will form a pupa (chrysalis). The pupa stage is the resting and changing stage. The last stage of its life is the adult (butterfly).

For more info on the life cycle of a butterfly go to:

Adult butterflies look for a mate, and then lay eggs on a specific plant that they know their young caterpillars will feed on by chewing the leaves. This is called a larval plant. For instance, Monarch butterflies look for milkweed plants. There are many different varieties of milkweed plants. The most popular is the Asclepias curassavica species. The monarch butterfly lays her eggs on the underside of the leaves. Another example, the gulf fritillary butterfly lays eggs on passion vine. The passion vines preferred are the Passiflora incarnate and Passiflora suberosa. If the passion vine is in the shade the zebra longwing butterfly will lay eggs on the vine.

For a list of larval food plants go to:

It is important to use the information on the above mentioned web site to choose your plants so that you are attracting the butterflies native to our area.

When the caterpillars finish feeding, usually in several weeks depending on the species of butterfly, the caterpillar will form a chrysalis. The chrysalis may be formed on the plant or off the plant in a protected area away from predators. A chrysalis can be different shapes, sizes and colors. Most camouflage very well in the garden and you may not see them. You can learn to identify all the different species and the stages of their life. In the pupa stage the caterpillar is making the seemingly magical change into an adult butterfly

When the butterfly is ready to come out of the chrysalis, it will split the covering and hang upside down so that the wings will unfold and fluid pumps through the veins in the wings. They will hang for several hours before they fly off.
The newly formed butterfly looks for a nectar plant. The Butterfly has a coiled proboscis or tongue that un-coils to sip nectar from flowers. Nectar plants can be most flowering plants. There are several nectar plants that are favorites of butterflies; red pentas, tropical salvia, trailing lantana and fire bush. For a list of nectar plants go to:

If you are planting these plants in containers, remember they may need more water than in the ground because containers dry out faster.

Butterfly garden at Florida Botanical Gardens/Pinellas County ExtensionCome out to see our beautiful butterfly garden at the Pinellas County Extension / Florida Botanical Gardens. I promise this will inspire you to plant one of your own.

More information about butterfly gardening

My favorite books for butterfly identification:
Florida Butterfly Gardening by Marc C. Minno and Maria Minno
Butterfly Book by Donald and Lillian Stokes and Ernest Williams
The Life Cycles of Butterflies by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards
Peterson First Guides- Caterpillars
Peterson First Guides- Butterflies and Moths by Marc C. Minno, Jerry F. Butler and Donald W. Hall

May 15, 2008

Timely Tips for May – Part 2

By Andy Wilson, Horticulturist, Pinellas County Extension

Got Oleanders? Got Caterpillars?- Oleanders in our area are routinely attacked by oleander caterpillars, orange caterpillars with tufts of long black hairs scattered over the body. They are voracious feeders and they can strip most of the leaves from the plants in a surprisingly short periooleander catepillard of time. The damage is unattractive but not life-threatening to the plants. Applications of sprays containing Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) generally give good control. There are several generations of these caterpillars per year so it is helpful to check the plants regularly for them.

Flower Thrips on Gardenias- Gardenias add a heavenly scent to many gardens at this time of year but the life span of individual blossoms can be shortened by flower thrips. These small insects feed on the sap of the flower petals, causing the petals to turn brown prematurely. The thrips can also invade flower buds before they open, sometimes causing the buds to drop off without opening. Spraying the plant with a systemic insecticide like imidicloprid or acephate will usually control them.
Thrips on Crotons- Types of thrips that feed on plant leaves are often a problem on crotons in the spring months. On crotons the damage usually shows up as a loss of color in the lower leaves, with leaves eventually turning a tan color. Infested leaves will have small brownish spots of excrement on their undersides. Damaged leaves drop off the plant beginning at the base of the stem moving upward. Leaf feeding thrips can be controlled with several products including light horticultural oils. More information on thrips can be found here:

psocid webbingTree Mummies?- If the trunk or branches of one of your trees develops a gauze-like or silk stocking-like covering there is no need to panic. The tree will not be harmed. The webbing is spun by psocids, small insects that feed on lichens that live on the trunks of trees. Psocids produce the webbing to protect themselves from the elements while they feed. Although the webbing can look quite eerie, psocids do no harm whatsoever to the tree they’re on and no control is needed. Eventually the webbing will weather away.

Summer Color - For color in the summer landscape consider these heat tolerant bedding plants: vinca, globe amaranth, amaranthus, moss rose, purslane, celosia, melampodium, Dahlberg daisy, ornamental pepper, salvia and wishbone flower. It’s helpful in work 2 to 3 inches of organic matter (peat, compost, etc.) into the soil before planting. This improves the water and nutrient holding capacity of the soil. More information on selection, planting and care of bedding plants can be found here:

Mango Harvest- Early maturing varieties of mangos like ‘Zill’, ‘Edward’, ‘Saigon’, ‘Florigon’ and ‘Earlygold’ are ready for harvest as early as May. To determine whether the fruit is mature enough for harvesting look for fruits in which the shoulders and nose of the fruit have “filled out” or broadened. Often there is a touch of color in the skin of the fruit at this time (on varieties that color at maturity). Mature fruits will usually ripen to eating quality in 3 to 8 days indoors at room temperature. Once they are fully ripened the fruits can be refrigerated for later use.

May 12, 2008

Timely Tips for May - Part 1

By Andy Wilson, Horticulturist, Pinellas County Extension

May is a month of transition from spring to summer. For many people this will be the last time until fall to enjoy having windows open. As we all know, hot and humid weather is just around the corner. It’s a good time to get some things done in the landscape before summer’s heat arrives. Here are some lawn and garden tips for May.

Irrigation- Since May is a warm and usually dry month, St. Augustine grass lawns will quickly show drought injury if irrigation heads get clogged or in some other way stop working. Although diseases and insects can cause browning of lawns, if the browning follows the same pattern as the sprinkler head coverage it’s time to check the heads. It’s also a good ideacalibrating a sprinkler system to calibrate the system to make sure that about ¾ of water is being applied per irrigation. When watering established lawns the goal is to wet the soil to the depth of the root system and in our sandy soils this usually requires about ¾ inch of water. If much more than this is applied in one watering the water quickly percolates below the reach of the grass roots and is wasted. Calibrating an irrigation system is not difficult. Find out how here:

Mulching- The dry weather of May is usually followed by the beginning of the rainy season sometime in mid- to late-June. Frequent rains will encourage weed seeds to germinate. Applying about a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch now will help to discourage this. Several kinds of mulches are available including pine bark, pine straw, melaleuca, and recycled yard waste mulch. Pinellas County distributes free recycled yard waste mulch at several sites around the county. A list of locations with hours of operation can be found here:

over pruned sabal palmetto palmDon’t Let Your Palm Go Topless- Although hurricane season begins June 1st, it is not a good idea to give palms what is commonly known as a “hurricane cut”, pruning off many green fronds, leaving the palm looking like a feather duster. Removing large numbers of green fronds stresses the palm by reducing its ability to manufacture food for itself. It also removes significant amounts of nutrients with the removed fronds, often worsening any existing nutritional deficiencies. If this is done repeatedly it can lead to bottlenecking, an unattractive constriction in the trunk. It is better to remove dead fronds as they appear throughout the year. Observations of wind damage to palms after some of the hurricanes that have occurred in recent years indicate that damage to palms that have been “hurricane cut” actually tends to be worse than on palms that faced the storms with a full complement of fronds. More information on pruning palms (and other aspects of palm care) can be found here:

May 7, 2008

Would you like to be a Florida Master Gardener?

Do you have the time and the desire to volunteer? Do you like helping others, getting your hands dirty and love gardening? If your answer is yes to these questions, consider participating in our next Florida Master Gardener training here at UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension beginning in August, 2008.

You must attend one of our Master Gardener Preview classes to obtain an application for this training. We usually take 30 students for the training classes. Once we receive all of the applications, we will conduct interviews to select this year’s trainees. The $160 cost of the training provides your books and materials.

This short video might have answers to your questions about volunteering as a Master Gardener. Just remember; having the desire and time to volunteer are the most important ingredients for your success as a Master Gardener.

Visit our web site at: to learn more about becoming a Florida Master Gardener and for information on the dates and times of the preview classes.

May 1, 2008

Get Ready, Get Set, Get Grilling!

By Carolyn Reiner, Dietetic Intern, Bay Pines Health Care System
Pinellas County Extension, Family & Consumers

Spring is here! With days getting longer and summer right around the grillingcorner, this means one thing- grilling season! Florida’s climate is ideal for year-round grilling. However, over half of Americans surveyed say they cook outdoors in spring and summer more than any other time of the year. Often backyard chefs think they are the experts when it comes to grilling, but unless they follow key food safety practices, their friends and family may want to think twice before taking a seat at the picnic table.

The risk of foodborne illness increases during the summer months because warm weather is ideal for disease-causing bacteria to multiply. Bacteria also need moisture to flourish. Therefore, Florida’s hot and humid summer weather provides the perfect growing conditions. Grilling can be a healthy and delicious way to cook during warm summer months, but remember, safety should always come first!

Here are a few basic tips to keep your grilling a safe, fun-filled success.

Tip #1: Keep Foods at Proper Temperatures

  • Keep food out of the danger zone- bacteria grow best between 40°F and 140°F.

  • When shopping, buy cold food like meat and poultry last.

  • At home, always refrigerate within 2 hours; keep refrigerated until ready to use.

  • Freeze poultry and ground meat that won't be used in 1 or 2 days; freeze other meat within 4 to 5 days.

  • After cooking, keep meat at 140°F or warmer until served.

  • In hot weather (above 90°F), food should never sit out for more than one hour.

  • After cooking, refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers.

Tip #2: Thaw Safely

  • Completely thaw meat and poultry before grilling so it cooks more evenly.

  • Don’t defrost your meat at room temperature-use the refrigerator for slow, safe thawing.

  • You can use the microwave if the food is to be grilled immediately.

  • Thawing sealed packages in cold water is also acceptable.

Tip #3: Avoid Cross-Contamination

  • Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water for 20 seconds after handling uncooked meat to prevent spreading bacteria.

  • Keep kitchen surfaces clean. Use paper towels and hot, soapy water to wipe up meat and poultry juices from countertops and carefully clean all surfaces, plates, utensils, etc. that have come in contact with uncooked meat or poultry.

  • Use clean utensils every time. Never use the same plate, knives or cutting board for raw and cooked meat.

  • Clean outdoor cooking and eating areas. Pack clean cloths, and wet towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands.
Tip #4: Cook Thoroughly
  • Always use a meat thermometer to ensure the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.

  • Color is not a reliable indicator of doneness.

  • NEVER partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later.

  • Make sure you cook foods to the proper internal temperature.
    - Steaks & Roasts - 145 °F
    - Fish - 145 °F
    - Pork - 160 °F
    - Ground Beef - 160 °F
    - Chicken Breasts - 165 °F
    - Whole Poultry - 165 °F

For more safe grilling tips check out: