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Tips For Safe 4th Of July Cooking [AUDIO]

ST. CLOUD — Don’t let food poisoning ruin your 4th of July holiday. Sue Dudding is a registered dietitian at St. Cloud Hospital. She says it’s important to make sure you’re practicing proper food safety techniques while you’re camping and grilling this weekend.

When packing raw meat for picnics and camping make sure to thaw or defrost it at home first. Dudding says you should put your meat at the bottom of the cooler so the juices don’t drip down and cross contaminate the other food. She has a few helpful tips to keep in mind while cooking.

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She also says you can use a moist towelette but soap and water work best.  When you’re ready to start grilling Dudding says you should take extra precaution to make sure that you don’t cross contaminate your marinade.

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Chicken, hamburger, hot dogs and other ground meats should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Pork loins can be taken off of the grill when they reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Dudding says you should invest in a meat thermometer because that is the only sure way to tell if your meat is cooked thoroughly.

You can avoid cross contamination by putting your cooked meat on a new plate when you’re taking it off of the grill. Dudding says people often times forget to use a different spatula when taking food off of the grill.

Dudding warns that bacteria grow faster in the temperature danger zone.

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Cold salads can be out of the fridge at room temperature for up to two hours. The threat of food poisoning increases after one hour if the temperature outside reaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Dudding says you should keep your food in a shaded area if possible. Symptoms of food poisoning include vomiting and diarrhea and typically take about four to six hours to develop.

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