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6 food safety tips for Fourth of July Weekend

USDA food safety expert offers tips on how to prevent bacteria growing in your food

Before you start flipping wings and burgers on the grill for the Fourth of July weekend we’re working for you on how to avoid cross contamination while you prepare your food.

Before you start flipping wings and burgers on the grill for the Fourth of July weekend we’re working for you on how to avoid cross contamination while you prepare your food.

Here is what Laura Scott, an USDA food safety expert suggested:

  • Anytime you touch raw meat you need to wash your hands before touching anything else like a spice container, your plate or other food
  • Have separate cutting boards, one for raw meat the other for veggies and fruit
  • Don’t rinse your poultry before cooking because it could spread bacteria throughout your kitchen
  • Read the label of any pre-cooked meat or dish to see what you need to do before serving
  • Use a food thermometer every time you cook

“The color of the meat on the inside or outside is not a reliable indicator of doneness. You really can’t tell if there’s a little pink in there or if it’s overdone, you just need to have a food thermometer and know the safe internal temperatures,” said Scott

The safe internal temperature for burgers is 160°F, poultry is 165°F and steak is 145°F.

Scott warned cookout hosts and guests to avoid the danger zone. It’s a 40°F to 140°F temperature range that is unsafe for food.

To prevent that, food should not be left out for more than two hours and if it’s a 90°F or hotter day, that two-hour rule turns into one hour .

“After the food has been at those temperatures for two hours it can start to grow dangerous bacteria so you want to make sure you either keep your food hot, keep hot food hot, on some sort of warming tray anything you can do to keep it hot,” Scott said.

You also want to keep cold food, cold.

If there’s no fridge near you, put the cold item in a bowl of ice or bring two coolers. One cooler would be for whatever needs to be cold and another for drinks since that gets opened frequently.


About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.