4th of July Grilling Safety Tips
"Summer is full of big picnics like the 4th of July...and summer also with its warm temperatures is an ideal time for bacteria to grow faster", says Dian Van, manager of USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline. "So it's important to remember the 4 basic messages of clean, cook, separate and chill."
The USDA recommends the following:
- Bring cleaning items with you to keep hands, utensils and surfaces clean.
- Bring separate plates and cutting boards for raw and cooked foods so that juices from raw meat don't contaminate meat that's ready to be eaten.
- Bring a food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to safe internal temperatures.
- When transporting food in a cooler, put a thermometer in the cooler to make sure it's at least 40 degrees or below. Cool it with ice and ice packs. Consider using a separate container for cold drinks since you may open it more frequently.
- Don't let food sit out for more than one hour in hot weather. If you don't know how long the food has been sitting out, Van says to go by the mantra "When in doubt, throw it out".
- Burgers should be cooked to 160F, while poultry should reach 165F.