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The season for summer cookouts begins this weekend with Memorial Day on Monday. USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline Food Safety Specialist Tina Hanes says the hotline gets questions every year about food safety for summer cookouts - and they pick up right around this time. Hanes says sticking with the basics is the best. That would be clean, separate, cook and chill…tape

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Hanes says many cookouts happen away from home. When taking food to another location - she says it’s important to keep it cold to minimize the growth of bacteria and germs. To do this - Hanes suggests transporting raw meats, poultry and perishable items in an insulated cooler with ice and ice packs to keep the food at 40-degrees Fahrenheit or below…tape

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Also - when at the cookout location - Hanes suggests keeping the cooler in the shade or a shelter. When the cookout is finished - she says leftovers need to be chilled and put back in the cooler in a clean container or wrapper - such as foil.

For more food safety tips - call the hotline at 1-888-MPHotline - that’s 1-888-674-6854. Tips also can be found online at www dot fsis dot usda dot gov slash education (www.fsis.usda.gov/education).


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