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Tips for a safe Fourth of July cookout

Follow these tips to keep your family safe from food-borne illness this holiday weekend.
Posted at 11:42 AM, Jul 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-02 14:42:00-04

(KERO) — An estimated 48-million people get sick from food-borne illnesses every year in the U.S according to the CDC and can range from mild to severe.

So if you're planning to cookout this July 4th holiday, experts urge you to keep food safe.

"It is something that can be quite serious and it is fairly preventable," said, Meredith Carothers with the USDA

Carothers adds there are four steps to food safety. The first is clean, make sure your hands, utensils and plates you bring to the grill aren't contaminated.

"The plate you bring out your raw burgers to the grill on cannot be used to put your cooked burgers onto...That's called cross-contamination where the bacteria from the raw meat and poultry products can go onto the cooked foods and if you eat that, that could make you sick," said Carothers

Keep those raw meats and poultry away from foods that are ready to eat and make sure you cook to a safe internal temperature. That varies depending on the meat, but a food thermometer can help with that.

"Putting it in the thickest part of your food if you're cooking something like a burger, or a sausage going through the side to make sure you're really getting into the middle," explained Carothers

Another tip is to make sure your foods stay at a safe temperature and not out too long.

"We have what's called a two-hour rule. That's the amount of time you can safely leave your foods out at room temperature or in that temperature range before they start to potentially become unsafe," noted Carothers

If cooking outside in temperatures above 90 degrees, that time reduces to one hour before food is either unsafe or needs to go back into the refrigerator

The USDA also suggests keeping your food on ice to keep it cold and out of the danger zone.