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THROW A SAFE AND DELICIOUS BBQ THIS SUMMER

Before you fire up the grill, make sure you know how to avoid serving a side of food poisoning at your BBQ bash.

Everyone enjoys a good summer BBQ.   And it's a great way to enjoy some fun with family and friends.   Unfortunately, it is way too common for people to contract food poisoning from a BBQ because we sometimes forget to take the same normal precautions we do in our regular kitchen.   Here are some safety tips to be aware of:

1. To prevent contamination, marinate meat in a container in the fridge instead of on the countertop.

2. Use a food thermometer. Even though a burger is brown all the way through, it may still contain dangerous e.coli bacteria. Hamburgers, pork chops and steaks should reach 160 degrees F, while chicken breasts and hot dogs should get to 165 degrees F.

3. Cooked meats should be kept hot (at least 140 degrees F) until served. You can set it to the side of the grill, or in a warm oven (set to 200).

4. When you're finished cooking, use a new serving platter and utensils; the juices from raw meat can contain the bacteria salmonella, a common cause of food poisoning.

5. Cold foods, such as cole slaw or potato salad, should be placed in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. Pack meat, poultry and seafood while it's still frozen so it'll stay cooler longer. (All perishables should be kept at or below 40 degrees F.)

6. Refrigerate leftovers immediately. Toss any food that's been left out for more than two hours (or one hour if it's left in the car or if the temperature outside is hotter than 90 degrees F).

If you follow these steps, everyone at your BBQ will enjoy the food and feel great later!