At some point throughout the summer, especially during Fourth of July week, most of us will spend time outside with family and friends at a picnic or backyard barbecue. If you aren’t careful about handling foods during these cookouts, you’re putting yourself and others at risk for potential food-related illnesses.

Stay safe with these simple tips:

  • Wash cooking equipment, dishes and utensils between uses. Be sure to clean the grill’s surface after each use and to wash cutting boards after cutting raw meat.
  • Store all perishables in a cooler with ice on top, not just underneath. Use one cooler for drinks and one for food. Never eat anything that has been left out of a refrigerator or cooler for more than two hours.
  • Invest in a meat thermometer so you can make sure all meat is cooked to the proper internal temperature.

Food Safety Temperatures to Know


Danger zone:
  • 41-135 degrees Farenheit (this is the range where the most rapid bacteria growth occurs)
Safe zones:
  • Cold foods: 40 degrees Farenheit and below
  • Hot foods: 140 degrees Farenheit and above
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