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Tips for a Safe and Tasty Memorial Day Cookout

A registered dietitian has some food safety tips to keep in mind when preparing your Memorial Day cookout.

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CLEVELAND - Firing up the grill for a Memorial Day cookout?

If so, Beth Czerwony, RD, registered dietitian for Cleveland Clinic, has some tips to keep in mind when preparing all those cookout staples.

“When we're talking about maintaining food safety, one of the most important things is making sure you keep the raw foods separate from the cooked foods,” explained Czerwony.

Czerwony said it’s important to keep raw meats away from things like fruits and veggies to avoid transferring any harmful bacteria between foods.

You either want to have separate cutting boards and knives for the meat you’re preparing – or clean your utensils after using them for raw meat.

Remember to wash your hands when handling and preparing food as well.

While grilling, juices from the meat you're cooking should not drip down onto other foods.

Czerwony said you also want to have a meat thermometer handy to check everything is cooked properly, and don’t let those burgers sit out too long before you eat them.

“If something like a burger is sitting out for too long, and it’s not completely cooked – you're going to end up creating a really great arena for bacteria to grow,” Czerwony said.

In general, Czerwony adds cooked food should not sit outside for over one hour on a hot day and no more than two hours at room temperature.

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Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. Cleveland Clinic is consistently recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for its expertise and care. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 81,000 employees worldwide are more than 5,743 salaried physicians and researchers, and 20,160 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,690-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 23 hospitals, 276 outpatient facilities, including locations in northeast Ohio; Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2023, there were 13.7 million outpatient encounters, 323,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 301,000 surgeries and procedures throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 132 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/CleClinicNews. News and resources available at newsroom.clevelandclinic.org.

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