Ways to prevent food-borne illnesses during holiday picnics

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The 4th of July holiday is here and cooks including Adam Zynda from Zynda BBQ and Smoke Shack will be firing up the grill with dogs, burgers, chicken and vegetables.

Before you marinate, there are a few quick and easy safety steps you must take to prevent food-borne illnesses.

Jennifer Holton from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) say you must first wash your hands, especially when handling raw meat and vegetables.

Warm and soapy water is recommended to clean your hands, cookware and utensils.

According to the MDARD, it’s just as important to separate raw items from cooked food to prevent cross contamination.

“What you don’t want to have is say your raw chicken and your raw vegetables unless you’re putting them on a skewer to grill collectively,” says Holton.

“You don’t want to take those same vegetables, put them on the same plate as your raw chicken and then cook them separately.”

Holton says it’s also important to use a food thermometer to make sure your meat is cooked thoroughly.

Experts also say food should be put back in the refrigerator if it’s been out for two hours or more to prevent contamination.

To sum it all up here’s a quick reminder: wash, separate, cook and chill.

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