GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - With temperatures in the upper 90's, it's sure to be steamy when you fire up your Independence Day barbeque with family and friends.
So how do you keep your food safe to eat?
Shaun Kennedy, of the University of Minnesota, is the director of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense.
He stopped by the KARE studios on Tuesday and shared these food safety tips.
It starts with preparation. Make sure to wash produce including items like watermelon or cantelope. Although you don't eat the rind, there can be germs on the surface that can travel inside the fruit when cut with a knife.
Thaw meat and seafood in the refrigerator, not on the counter. You can thaw meat in a microwave if you are going to cook it immediately after. Shrimp can be thawed under cold running water right before preparation.
When marinating meat, pour some marinade on the meat and then set some aside in a separate bowl to use for basting. When you put the meat on the grill, throw away the marinade it was soaking in. You do not want to baste your meat with tainted marinade.
Once at your picnic, it's important to know that any perishable foods will spoil after just one hour in temperatures 90 degrees and above.
Kennedy said it is best to keep perishable foods at temperatures 40 degrees and below or 140 degrees and higher.
Keep cold foods in a cooler filled with ice. To keep that cooler as cool as possible, bring a separate cooler just for beverages. A beverage cooler will likely be opened much more frequently.
Kennedy said foods with low acid content spoil more quickly. For example, he said coleslaw that is tangy will last longer than one that it not. Pasta, rice dishes, potato salad all need to be kept cool.
Kennedy said one type of food that often is left on the picnic table for too long is gelatin salads. He said any Jello with fruit or veggies inside must be refrigerated because bacteria can start growing on those inclusions and can lead to food poisoning.
When cooking meat on the grill, cook to the proper temperatures. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has safe food temperature guidelines.
Once your hamburgers, chicken or steak are cooked to the proper temperature, keep them on the grill. Just move them to the side. Don't put them on a plate. On the side of the grill, they will stay at the proper temperature until someone is ready to eat them.
The United States Department of Agriculture also has safe food handling tips.
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