Food safety tips for your Memorial Day weekend cookout

Many of us will fire up the grill during Memorial Day weekend, but don’t let food poisoning ruin your cookout.

According to the CDC, about 128,000 people are hospitalized and 3,000 people die each year from foodborne illness. As the weather heats up, rates of foodborne illness increase.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Specialist Archie Magoulas said to remember these four steps: clean, separate, cook and chill.

“Our recommendations may seem conservative, but it’s better to be safe.”

More Memorial Day news

First, wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water. If you’re at the beach or camping, bring hand sanitizer.

Second, make sure you keep raw and cooked food separate to avoid cross contamination. If you use a plate for raw food, wash it before you use that plate again.

Third, cook food to the correct internal temperature. For example, hamburgers should be 160 degrees in the thickest part. Magoulas strongly recommended using a meat thermometer.

“So many burgers will turn brown, but they haven’t quite reached that temperature. And that can happen with any meat even if it’s not the red meat. White meat can look cooked, but it’s not quite there.”

Magoulas said the fourth step is also the most common mistake. Put food away in the fridge or cooler, and don’t leave it sitting out.

“Put everything away when it’s room temperature within two hours,” he said. “You leave food out too long, throw it out. Don’t even give it to your pets.”

For more information, call the Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854 or visit FoodSafety. Gov.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2024 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up