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Your Top 10 Food Safety Tips for Summer Grilling

Posted by Jesus Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist, Food Safety Education Staff in Health and Safety
Jun 30, 2022
A burger with cheese on the grill

As you plan your Fourth of July celebration, remember these 10 food safety tips to keep your barbecue free from foodborne illness:

  1. Clean Your Grill. Scrub the grill clean before use. No access to a faucet? Carry bottled water, soap, and paper towels.
  2. Defrost Safely. Thaw frozen beef, poultry or fish safely in the refrigerator, cold water or a microwave oven. Cook immediately after thawing.
  3. Avoid Cross Contamination. Separate raw meat and vegetables by using different cutting boards.
  4. Check Internal Temperatures. Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature by using a food thermometer:
    • Whole cuts of meat: 145 F with a three-minute rest time
    • Fish: 145 F
    • Ground meats: 160 F
    • Egg dishes: 160 F
    • Poultry (ground or whole): 165 F
  5. Thoroughly Cook Frozen Meat. Although frozen products may appear to be pre-cooked or browned, treat them as raw food and cook thoroughly. Products labeled as “Cook and Serve,” “Ready to Cook” and “Oven Ready” must be cooked.
  6. Use Food Thermometers Correctly on Burgers. Insert the thermometer through the side of patty until the probe reaches the center.
  7. Beware of the Danger Zone. Bacteria multiply rapidly between 40 F and 140 F—a.k.a. the Danger Zone. USDA recommends that perishable food be consumed or refrigerated within two hours (one hour in room or outdoor temperatures of 90 F and above).
  8. Store Leftovers Properly. Divide leftovers into smaller portions and place them in shallow containers in your refrigerator or cooler.
  9. Keep It Cool. Pack coolers with ice bags, gel packs or frozen water bottles. Use an appliance thermometer to monitor that food stays chilled at 40 F or below.
  10. When In Doubt Call. For more questions about food safety before the Fourth of July, contact the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to an expert or chat live at from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
Category/Topic: Health and Safety