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Celebrate Your Fourth of July Without Foodborne Illness

Posted by Yolande Mitchell, Management Analyst, FSIS, USDA in Health and Safety
Jun 27, 2023
Burgers on the grill

The Fourth of July is a time of celebration, family and of course cookouts. Cooking safely is in your hands and doing so can help keep your family healthy this Independence Day. Control the transfer of bacteria by thoroughly washing your hands before and after touching raw meat, poultry and seafood.

The USDA recommends the following food safety tips for grilling:

  1. Preheat your grill and scrub the grate with a long-handled brush once the grill has fully preheated. Remnants from the last grill session should scrape off.
  2. Remove the meat, poultry or seafood from its container and place on the grill at a safe distance apart. Discard any marinade used to prepare your meat, poultry or seafood.
  3. When grilling your foods, make sure you’ve destroyed dangerous bacteria by cooking to the proper internal temperature.
  • Beef, pork, lamb: 145 F with a 3-minute rest.
  • Ground meats: 160 F.
  • All poultry (whole or ground): 165 F.
  • Fish (whole or filet): 145 F.

You can’t tell by looking at food whether it is done. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your food to determine if it is safe to eat. The thermometer should be inserted into the thickest part of the meat and poultry, through the side of burgers and thin filets of fish, for the most accurate temperature reading.

Make sure to pack up any leftovers and refrigerate them within two hours. In hot weather (above 90 F), refrigerate within one hour.

For more food safety information, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, in English or Spanish, or email Consumers can also chat live at

Category/Topic: Health and Safety