Temperature control and separate containers important for food safety

As you get out the grill for the Fourth of July, be sure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

“The danger zone is just above refrigeration temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit all the way to 140,” said Archie Magoulas with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “140 is the other extreme. Keeping cold foods cold, that means 40 or below. Keeping hot foods hot means 140 or above.”

Don’t leave food out too long, especially if it’s outside.

“Don’t leave foods out more than two hours,” said Magoulas. “Whether it’s the burgers, the chicken, the coleslaw. One hour if it’s quite warm, above 80 degrees outside.”

Keep pre-cooked food and what needs cooked separate if you’re taking it somewhere to cook.

“Keep a separate cooler with ice for the raw meats and a separate one for the cooked things, whether it’s a ham or coleslaw. You don’t want cross-contamination.”

It’s also important to use separate utensils for cooking and serving to avoid cross-contamination, as well.