(NBC News) Millions of Americans love cooking out in the nice weather, especially around the 4th of July, but as the temperatures climb so does the risk of foodborne illness.
“We generally see a spike in the number of food borne illnesses like salmonella or E.coli during the summer months,” notes the USDA’s Dr. Mindy Brashears.
Dr. Brashears says that’s because bacteria grows more quickly at warmer temperatures.
The USDA recommends you keep four things in mind every time you fire up the grill.
“Clean. Separate. Cook and chill,” Dr. Brashears explains.
Wash your hands frequently while cooking, keep raw meat away from cooked food, and when it comes to cooking, make sure it’s done properly.
“We want our burgers to be cooked to 160 degrees internally and we want you to use a food thermometer,” Dr. Brashears says.
Sausage should also be cooked to 160 degrees, steak to 145 and turkey and chicken to 165.
Finally, leftovers should be refrigerated within an hour. That means making sure your cooler is stocked with ice if you’re not near home.