Celebrate Fourth of July without foodborne illness - USDA

USDA suggests using a thermometer to check core food temperatures
calendar icon 4 July 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

The Fourth of July is a time of celebration, family and of course cookouts. Cooking safely is in your hands and doing so can help keep your family healthy this Independence Day. Control the transfer of bacteria by thoroughly washing your hands before and after touching raw meat, poultry and seafood.

The USDA recommends the following food safety tips for grilling:

  1. Preheat the grill and scrub the grate with a long-handled brush once the grill has fully preheated. Remnants from the last grill session should scrape off.
  2. Remove meat, poultry or seafood from its container and place on the grill at a safe distance apart. Discard any marinade used to prepare meat, poultry or seafood.
  3. When grilling foods, make sure you’ve destroyed dangerous bacteria by cooking to the proper internal temperature
  • Beef, pork, lamb: 145 F with a 3-minute rest
  • Ground meats: 160 F
  • All poultry (whole or ground): 165 F
  • Fish (whole or filet): 145 F

You can’t tell by looking at food whether it is done. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your food to determine if it is safe to eat. The thermometer should be inserted into the thickest part of the meat and poultry, through the side of burgers and thin filets of fish, for the most accurate temperature reading.

Make sure to pack up any leftovers and refrigerate them within two hours. In hot weather (above 90 F), refrigerate within one hour, the USDA advised.

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