Source: Consumer Product Safty
Food Safety Inspection Service
Grill Safety Tips
WASHINGTON, D.C. - As consumers get ready to fire
up their grills this Memorial Day weekend, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and
the Food Safety Inspection Service is offering safety tips for consumers to follow.
Gas Grill Safety Tips
Liquid petroleum (LP) gas or propane, used in gas
grills, is highly flammable. Each year about 30 people are injured as a result of gas
grill fires and explosions. Many of these fires and explosions occur when consumers first
use a grill that has been left idle for a period of time or just after refilling and
reattaching the grill's gas container. To reduce the risk of fire or explosion, consumers
should routinely perform the following safety checks:
- Check the tubes that lead into the burner for any
blockage from insects, spiders, or food grease. Use a pipe cleaner or wire to clear
blockage and push it through to the main part of the burner.
- Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes,
and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.
- Move gas hoses as far away as possible from hot
surfaces and dripping hot grease. If you can't move the hoses, install a heat shield to
- Replace scratched or nicked connectors, which can
eventually leak gas.
- Check for gas leaks, following the manufacturer's
instructions, if you smell gas or when you reconnect the grill to the LP gas container. If
you detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and don't attempt to light the grill until
the leak is fixed.
- Keep lighted cigarettes, matches, or open flames
away from a leaking grill.
- Never use a grill indoors. Use the grill at least
10 feet away from your house or any building. Do not use the grill in a garage, breezeway,
carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.
- Do not attempt to repair the tank valve or the
appliance yourself. See an LP gas dealer or a qualified appliance repair person.
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions that
accompany the grill.
Consumers should use caution when storing LP gas
containers. Always keep containers upright. Never store a spare gas container under or
near the grill or indoors. Never store or use flammable liquids, like gasoline, near the
To avoid accidents while transporting LP gas containers, consumers should transport the
container in a secure, upright position. Never keep a filled container in a hot car or car
trunk. Heat will cause the gas pressure to increase, which may open the relief valve and
allow gas to escape.
Consumers should use extreme caution and always follow manufacturer's instructions when
connecting or disconnecting LP gas containers.
Grills manufactured after October 1, 1995, are required to have three additional safety
features to eliminate leak hazards: a device to limit the flow of gas in the event of hose
rupture; a mechanism to shut-off the grill; and a feature to prevent the flow of gas if
the connection between the tank and the grill is not leak proof. Consumers should consider
purchasing grills that have these safety features.
Charcoal Grill Safety Tips
Charcoal produces carbon monoxide (CO) when it is
burned. CO is a colorless, odorless gas that can accumulate to toxic levels in closed
environments. Each year about 30 people die and 100 are injured as a result of CO fumes
from charcoal grills and hibachis used inside.
To reduce these CO poisonings, CPSC is offering the following safety tips:
- Never burn charcoal inside of homes, vehicles,
tents, or campers. Charcoal should never be used indoors, even if ventilation is provided.
- Since charcoal produces CO fumes until the charcoal
is completely extinguished, do not store the grill indoors with freshly used coals.
In April 1996, CPSC voted to revise the label on
charcoal packaging to more explicitly warn consumers of the deadly CO gas that is released
when charcoal is burned in a closed environment. The new label reads,
"WARNING...CARBON MONOXIDE HAZARD...Burning charcoal inside can kill you. It gives
off carbon monoxide, which has no odor. NEVER burn charcoal inside homes, vehicles or
tents." The new label also conveys the written warning visually with drawings of
grills inside a home, tent, and vehicle. The drawings are enclosed in a circle with an
"X" through it. While the new label requirement will not become mandatory until
the end of the year, many charcoal manufacturers have already started using the new labels
on charcoal packaging.
Food Safety Tips
The FSIS offers the following general food
handling tips to help prevent foodborne illness during the upcoming holiday, as well as
throughout the summer season. "These tips are part of a major food safety education
program, Fight BAC!. The program is a joint public and private
partnership effort to help reduce the incidence of foodborne illness by educating the
public about safe food handling practices."
- WASH HANDS AND FOOD SURFACES OFTEN. Wash your hands
with hot soapy water before handling food. Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and
counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing raw meat, poultry and seafood and before
going on to the next food.
- DONT CROSS-CONTAMINATE. Separate raw meat,
poultry and other perishable foods from ready-to-eat foods. If possible, use a different
cutting board for uncooked meat and poultry and ready-to-eat foods. Cutting boards should
be thoroughly cleaned after each use. Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling each
food. Always use a clean plate for cooked meat, poultry and seafood.
- COOK TO PROPER TEMPERATURES. Use a clean food
thermometer that measures the internal temperature of cooked foods. Ground beef should
cook to at least 160?F using a meat thermometer to be sure. Steaks should cook to at
least 145?F, whole poultry to 180?F and chicken breasts and legs to 170?F.
- REFRIGERATE PERISHABLE FOODS PROMPTLY. Refrigerate
or freeze perishables, prepared foods and leftovers within two hours. Thaw food in the
refrigerator, under cold running water or in the microwave.