Tips to prevent foodborne illness at July 4th cookouts - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Tips to prevent foodborne illness at July 4th cookouts

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(WTVM) -

Backyard cookouts are nearly as big of an American tradition as fireworks and Independence Day itself. Unfortunately, people getting sick for a few days afterwards from foodborne illness may be considered a minor, unofficial tradition as well.   

Taryn Sutterfield, Clinical Nutrition Specialist at Columbus Regional, stopped by the WTVM studio with helpful tips to keep grilling food safe to eat at this year's Fourth of July events:

First, avoid cross-contamination. Bacteria from raw meat can spread to other food. This can be avoided by cleaning the grill before using it, washing your hands after handling raw meat, and using different utensils and dishes for cooked food and raw food.

Second, use a food thermometer to make sure meat is thoroughly cooked. Hamburgers should be cooked to 160 degrees. Relying on the color of the meat could be misleading and lead to food poisoning.

Third, do not leave food sitting out for too long. Discard food after two hours at room temperature, and one hour in the summer heat. Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Place food in air-tight containers with cooked food at the top of the refrigerator and raw food at the bottom.  This will prevent any juices from the raw meats from contaminating cooked foods.   

Following these tips can help keep you and your guests enjoying the barbeque this Independence Day without paying for it in the days that follow. 

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