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Favorite summer pastime? Barbecuing, poll finds

Posted On Tue, May 28, 2013

While the typical summer brings a variety of enjoyments that families can take part in, something many Americans are most looking forward to is enjoying cuisine that's cooked in the great outdoors.

According to a recent survey conducted by polling firm Toluna, among approximately 2,200 respondents that were interviewed, approximately 60 percent of them said that backyard grilling was the activity that they were the most excited about over the next few months.

The respondents also gave their opinion on what foods they most wanted to eat barbecue-style. At the top of the list was cheeseburgers, followed by corn on the cob and hot dogs, the poll found.

Stephen McDonnell, co-founder and CEO of an organic food company that commissioned the poll, pointed out that this is the time of year that a large percentage of Americans purchase various meat products for grilling and barbecuing purposes.

"An estimated 38 percent of hot dogs are sold between Memorial Day and Labor Day," said McDonnell.

The only thing that can get in between food lovers and an enjoyable barbecue experience is a fire, which are known to occur when property safety precautions aren't fully accounted for.

Grilling responsible for thousands of fires each year
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are more than 6,000 fires that take place each year resulting from barbecues and grills. Property losses average $35 million among homeowners who review insurance quotes and barbecuers in general.

Another important issue when grilling meats is ensuring that they're cooked at the proper temperature. For barbecue chicken, for example, the internal temperatures should be approximately 165 degree Fahrenheit. Because the temperature of the grill can vary depending on where the chicken is placed, health experts say it's important to check the temp of all the pieces of chicken so that they're all cooked evenly.

For beef, such as hamburger, the temperature doesn't have to be quite as high. As a general rule, hamburgers are safe to eat if they have an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. While experienced grillers may be able to determine the temperature based on a patty's feel or how it looks in the center, health experts agree that the safest way of being sure is by using a food thermometer.

Hot dogs can also be cooked on the grill. However, because they traditionally come pre-cooked, it's not necessary to ensure that they're at a specific temperature before they are served.

CDC: 48 million each year sickened by food-borne disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 48 million people each year become ill due to bacteria resulting from food-borne illnesses, some of which could have been avoided had meat sources been properly cooked.

Typically, food poisoning only lasts a short time. However, based on a recent study that was recently discussed in the Scientific American, these adverse health conditions can occasionally have lasting repercussions.

Researchers from Sweden reviewed health statistics among approximately 101,800 residents who lived in the country between 1997 and 2004, all of whom were sickened, at some point, by a food-borne illness. They discovered that these individuals were more like to develop digestive-related health conditions, such as reactive arthritis and ulcerative colitis.

In a separate report that was also mentioned in the Scientific American, a health database review among Australian residents by researchers discovered that people who had a gastrointestinal infection were more likely to develop chronic bowel conditions, such as Crohn's disease.

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