McCoy & Hiestand Attorneys at Law

As you head out to cookouts and get-togethers this holiday weekend it’s important to understand a few basic food safety rules.

Transportation and storage

  • Use an insulated cooler filled with ice when packing and transporting cold food.
    • Foods that should be kept cold include:
      • Raw meat
      • Poultry
      • Seafood
      • Deli meat or sandwiches
      • Summer salads (tuna, chicken, egg, pasta, or seafood)
      • Sliced fruit and vegetables
      • Perishable dairy products (cheese, yogurt, milk)

Tip: a full cooler will maintain its temperature longer than one that’s partially filled.


  • Leaving meat to thaw on the counter may allow germs to grow so plan ahead and defrost your meat in the refrigerator.
  • Wash all produce in cool water to eliminate bacteria. This includes washing produce that you would slice or peel to ensure the bacteria isn’t transferred from the knife to your food.
  • Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and ready to eat items
  • A meat thermometer is a great tool to ensure everything you’re grilling is cooked to the right temperature to kill dangerous pathogens.
    • Cook all beef, pork, lamb and veal to a minimum internal temperature of 150 degrees before removing from the heat source.
    • Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees


  • Wash your hands after handling raw meat and before serving or eating.
  • Perishable food should not sit out for more than two hours. In hot weather (above 90 °F), food should not sit out for more than one hour.
    • Bacteria grows most rapidly between 40 and 140 degrees, doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes.
  • Serve cold food in small portions and keep the rest in the cooler.
  • After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it at 140 °F or warmer until served.

There are many different types of illnesses that can harm your body if simple food safety rules are not followed but with these helpful tips you can focus on having fun instead of wondering whether your food is safe!

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