Have a food-safe Fourth of July!

With grills across the nation flaring up for the Fourth of July, it’s important to remember some important food safety facts to keep your celebration from creating less than pleasant memories.

  • Avoid cross-contamination, which occurs when bacteria from uncooked foods gets on ready -to-eat or cooked foods. That means don’t use the same utensils and dishes for raw foods as you do for cooked foods.
  • Heading to the lake or a friend’s BBQ? Ensure food is properly packed in an insulated cooler with ice so the food is kept at 40°F or lower, which slows bacterial growth. Keep raw and cooked foods separate.
  • Marinating meat? Keep it in the fridge, not on the counter or outside. And, for the sake of your stomach, do not use leftover marinade on ready-to-eat foods as it will cross-contaminate it with juices from the raw meat.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
  • Don’t leave food out for more than two hours. If it’s more than 90°F, cut that time in half.
  • Use a meat thermometer. Color is not a good indicator of doneness or safety.
    • Ground beef: 160°F
    • Poultry: 165°F
    • Beef steaks, pork and lamb: 145°F
    • Hot dogs: 165°F
    • Wash your hands often, especially after handling raw ingredients. Unwashed hands can lead to cross-contamination.
    • Have leftovers? Refrigerate them quickly in shallow containers (they’ll reach a safe temperature faster). However, if they’ve been sitting out for more than 2 hours (or an hour in temperatures above 90°F, ditch them. It’s not worth the potential illness).

From all of us at Neogen, have a safe and wonderful Fourth of July!

For more cook-out food safety tips, check out Foodsafety.gov and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

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