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Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill. Wait, What is that about?

How hot has it been this week in New Jersey! Yesterday is was in the 90's and humid. Next week brings July 4th parades, picnics and fireworks. Do you have big plans to celebrate? I just got back form the grocery store and I'd say it's busy with shoppers loading up on big packs of ground beef, hot dogs, rolls, and watermelons.

Did you know you should always rinse off your watermelon as well as any other fruit before your cut into it. What ever germs are on the outside and going to be on the inside as soon as your knife cuts through that fruit skin.

During the Summer months bacteria is happy growing in the heat of the days. Be sure to keep your food prep areas clean and keep your food at the proper temperature to avoid illness. Don't leave food out of the refrigerator for long periods of time. Follow the 4 steps below to help keep you and your family feeling good and enjoy all the Summer picnics.

Use a meat thermometer when cooking any meats, on the grill, stove or campfire. Your hot dog might look well done on the outside and might be cold inside!

Visit for the right temperatures to cook your meats fully. Be sure to visit all the tabs on their web site for Summer Food Safety and tips.

4 Steps to Food Safety:
·         Clean: Make sure you clean all utensils, hands, and surfaces with soapy water. If you’re going to be outside, using a moist towelette is a good idea.
·         Separate: Don’t put meat items back on the same plate you used for the raw meat! Make sure you bring two plates for grilling and separate raw meat from fruits and veggies.
·         Cook: Hamburgers should be cooked to 160 °Fahrenheit before serving. Remember, just because it’s brown doesn’t mean its safe, use a food thermometer every time.
·         Chill: The general rule is to never let food sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours, but once the temps reach 90 °Fahrenheit, that’s reduced to 1 hour.

Martie Duncan shares her ideas on parities and food safety:


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Disclosure: The comments and views are my own. For information contact

 Food Safe Families campaign (an effort on behalf of the USDA, FDA, CDC and the Ad Council) to spread knowledge and awareness of the “Four Steps to Food Safety: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill,” for the summer.

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