Fourth of July grilling tips to prevent foodborne illness - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Fourth of July grilling tips to prevent foodborne illness

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Getting outside and grilling is a great way to celebrate Independence Day, but it's important to take some safety precautions to keep your family healthy. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 Americans suffer from a foodborne illness each year. That's 48 million people across the country. 

Experts say food poisoning cases can spike when the weather gets warmer.  That's because foodborne bacteria thrive and multiply more quickly in warmer temperatures.

"It's really important to pay attention to safe food preparation when we're indoors, but even more so when we're outdoors because of that temperature change,” Jenita Lyons, Wellness Manager for Norton Children’s Prevention and Wellness, said. 

After you fire up the grill, be sure to put cooked food on a clean plate. If you put it back on one that held raw meat, you could contaminate your food. 

"We want to keep raw foods away from ready to eat foods and keep those surfaces separated,” Lyons said. 

It’s also imperative to make sure your meat is cooked at the correct temperature.  Lyons says burgers should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees and poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees. 

Bacteria thrive when food is left out for too long. Once you serve up those burgers, remember to put the food away. Generally food should not be left unrefrigerated for more than two hours.

However, when the temperature outside reaches 90 degrees or above food must be stored within one hour to prevent contamination. If you're not sure how long food has been sitting out in the sun, Lyons has some advice. 

"If you're in doubt,  go ahead and throw it out,” she said. 

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headache are all symptoms of food borne illness. Lyons says these symptoms pose a major risk of dehydration. 

"If those symptoms persist for more than 12 hours it's recommended to go ahead and call the doctor,” Lyons said. 

If you still have questions, you can download the USDA's Food Keeper app or visit You can also call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at (1-888-674-6854) Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. 

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