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Memorial Day marks the official start of summer and grilling season. While cooking meat over an open flame channels the outdoorsman in all of us, we should not overlook basic food-safety procedures. Foodborne illnesses increase during the summer months so being vigilant about temperatures and cross contamination is essential!

At the grocery store:
When shopping, select meat towards the end of the shopping trip to keep the meat temperature colder. Make sure you put it in the plastic bags available in the meat department to keep raw meat juices off the rest of your food. It is also a good idea to have a designated shopping bag for meat and with the temperatures getting hotter, even a better idea to have a cooler in the car.

At home:
Once home, follow these safe food preparation tips:

  • Do not leave meat out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours, 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees
  • Do not put cooked meat back on the same platter that held the raw meat
  • Never use the marinade you used prior to cooking to baste on cooking meats
  • Use separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables
  • Wash your hands often

Meat Doneness:
Lastly, you cannot determine the “doneness” of meat just by the color. Use an instant-read thermometer. Ground meats and pork should be at least 160 degrees, poultry at least 165 degrees and beef at least 145 degrees. For more information about cooking times and temperatures visit www.IsItDoneYet.gov.

Follow these simple food-safety steps and enjoy your Memorial Day grilling.

Click here to try some healthy grilling recipes.

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