Memorial Day weekend starts the summer cookout season. Remember to practice good food safety by washing hands and utensils, keeping raw meats separate, cooking meats to the proper temperature and keeping cold foods cold. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends following four basic food safety steps.


  1. Clean – Wash prep areas thoroughly with warm soapy water, especially after contact with raw foods. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before and after handling foods.

  2. Separate – Keep all raw meats and poultry separate from veggies and fruits and cooked foods. Use different cutting boards for meat and produce.

  3. Cook – Proper temperatures kill foodborne bacteria. Use a food thermometer to cook meats to a safe minimum temperature. Color is not a reliable indicator of doneness.

  4. Chill – Bacteria grows rapidly when food is at 40° and higher for over 20 minutes. Keep hot food on the grill and place cold food in a cooler or on ice.

Visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture website for more tips and temps.