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Ensure Food Safety at Your Summer Cookouts

ARLINGTON, Va. — What’s one way to ruin a perfect cookout? Yep, food poisoning. Cases of food poisoning spike in the summer, with Campylobacter and Salmonella the most common and persistent germs that cause illness.

Home cooks can keep themselves and their families healthy by following a few important safe food handling practices at home.

“Doing these things consistently can mean the difference between good health and serious food-borne illness,” said Shelley Feist, executive director of the non-profit Partnership for Food Safety Education. “The food safety basics of clean, separate, cook and chill do reduce the risk of illness from harmful germs like Campylobacter and Salmonella.”

Families are reminded to follow these safe food preparation steps at home:

  • Not just the grill master, but everyone at the gathering should wash their hands with soap and water before and after handling food.

  • Always use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of grilled meat and poultry. Print this temperature chart for your refrigerator.

  • Keep your cooler filled with ice, so picnic perishable foods stay chilled to 40 °F.

  • Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry or seafood. Be sure to have plenty of clean utensils and platters on hand.

To Fight BAC!® (harmful bacteria) at your cookout, download this flyer on grilling safety and using a food thermometer. With July 4th just around the corner, it's the perfect time to share these tips to prevent food poisoning.

Health and food safety educators and consumers can download free food safety education information from the Partnership’s website at Follow the Partnership for Food Safety Education on Facebook at @FightBAC and on Twitter at @Fight_BAC. Visit, the gateway to food safety information provided by the CDC, FDA and USDA.

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