Fourth of July food safety

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July 4, 2013, 6:11 am
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(NECN/NBC News: Erika Edwards) - Nothing says good old Americana like a grilled burger, but please honor your fellow countrymen by not giving them food poisoning during your cookout!

Eighty-one-million of your closest friends and neighbors across the USA are expected to celebrate the 4th 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.

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

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. This one features a chef who makes a mistake by foregoing the fridge and leaving meat out to marinate.

Don't keep food outside in the heat for longer than an hour and 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.

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

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 and to protect your guests from the internal fireworks of food poisoning.

Tags: food, Fourth of July, food safety, burgrs, hotdogs
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