Food safety important when grilling out - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Food safety important when grilling out

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WASHINGTON, DC -

Eighty-one million of your closest friends and neighbors across the USA are expected to celebrate the Fourth of July by grilling out. But before you serve up what's surely the best burger on the street, consider putting a few safeguards in place to protect your guests from becoming one of the nearly 50 million Americans who get food poisoning throughout the year.

"In warm temperatures, harmful bacteria have a tendency to multiply much quicker than any time of year," said Brian Ronholm, USDA.

The USDA has partnered with the Ad Council on public service announcements intended to put a humorous spin on the serious topic of food safety. One spot features a chef who makes a mistake by foregoing the fridge and leaving meat out to marinate.

"I'm going to leave them out on the counter overnight, just like my Nana used to do!"

Needless to say, that's not recommended.

First rule for the Fourth? Don't keep food outside in the heat for longer than an hour. That's two hours if you're indoors. Cool foods should be kept on ice, and remember to put ice on top of foods, too, as cool air travels down.

Experts recommend using a meat thermometer to make sure burgers are fully cooked. Color is not a good indicator.

"Often time, a burger will turn brown before it reaches the safe internal temperature of 160 degrees," said Ronholm.

Poultry should be cooked a bit longer, to a temperature of 165.

Use one cutting board for raw meat and another for fruits and vegetables to avoid cross contamination.

See more food safety tips here.

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