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3 tips for safer summer cookouts (7/20)

July 20, 2009
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Do you know how long you need to cook a hamburger on the grill until it’s safe to eat? Can you really tell if meat is done just by looking at the color? The answers to these questions and more can be found in the food safety fact sheets available from NSF International at, a not-for-profit organization committed to protecting and improving public health.

As part of its public health mission, NSF provides tips on a wide array of food safety issues to help consumers avoid some of the common mistakes that contribute to millions of cases of foodborne illness each year.
  • Avoid cross contamination. Never use the same utensil, cutting board, or serving dish that you used to handle raw food for cooked food unless you thoroughly wash it between uses. This goes for your thermometer as well — wash them thoroughly between each use so that you don’t transfer bacteria from one food to the next.
  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly. The higher the temperature, the faster bacteria can multiply and make food unsafe. Be sure to place leftovers that are perishable, such as meats or potato salad, in a refrigerator or cooler immediately after serving, or throw them out. If using a cooler, make sure sufficient ice is available to keep food cold.
  • Wash your hands. Believe it or not, one of the best ways to protect against foodborne illness (as well as other illnesses) is to wash your hands often. This is especially important during food preparation, such as after handling raw meat or produce, and before eating. If water for handwashing isn’t readily available, keep some hand sanitizers or hand sanitizing towelettes on hand.
For additional information on a wide array of public health and safety issues, consumers can visit NSF’s Web site at or contact NSF’s Consumer Affairs Office at 1-800-673-8010 or

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