The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has issued their annual food safety warning to prevent accidents and contamination.

With barbeque season underway, the IDHW and Centers For Disease Control are reminding Magic Valley grill masters about the dangers of unsafe outdoor cooking. Foodborne germs are responsible for nationwide outbreaks during the summer months, so the IDHW has provided some safety tips on avoiding illness this season.

Things like washing your bbq tongs and spatulas, cooking food to a proper temperature and maintaining a clean grilling station are all ways to avoid sickness. Prior to grilling, it's important to know how certain meats should be properly stored as well.

Also, if possible (from me to you), avoid using cheap grill scrapers that shed wires. Every year people are admitted into the ER for swallowing them, which can be life threatening. Personally, I would also add scraping grill racks off after every use to the list of must do's, because old food build up can often cause excessively high flames. That's why I always have an extra water bottle nearby to extinguish flames if need be. I've had the hair burnt off my grilling arm (right) on more than one occasion as a result of food build up, but luckily I'm Italian, and it usually grows back by the next day.

Enjoy cookouts with your friends and family, but remember to do it safely too. And oh yea, if you need someone to sample your ribs, you know where to find me.

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