Cookout food safety tips - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Cookout food safety tips

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With big summer holidays, like July 4th right around the corner, many of us are rushing out the grocery stores to grab food for a cookout. If you're planning a cookout for anytime this summer, the last thing you want is for someone to get sick. We went straight to the experts to get the facts on this one. Registered dietitian, Brooke Mercedes, gives us some tips on how to keep food safe during those hot summer cookouts.

She starts with chicken salad, which she says is a dish to watch out for at outdoor cookouts.

"I think this is one of the most dangerous items. It's mayonnaise based plus it has the meat in it as well," says Brooke.

You might be surprised to know, Brooke says after just one hour above 40 degrees, it's not safe to eat anymore.

Another popular item we often take to cookouts or picnics are deli meats. There are a couple of factors that can determine how long these items are safe in the refrigerator after the event. Brooke says if it's unopened it will last for up to two weeks, but once the seal is broken it's only good for four to five days.

When the cookout or picnic is over and there is leftover food, Brooke says you have to act quickly with anything you want to keep.

"If you're putting things in the refrigerator, you have two hours from the time you set it up to get it to the correct temperature," she says. "Then after that you want dishes no more than two inches deep. And after four days, you're done."

Some good advice for us all to remember as we head fill up our carts at the grocery store this week.

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