Keeping food poisoning out of your holiday BBQ feast

Many people will be firing up their grills this weekend but food safety experts are warning: Don't let a fun barbeque turn into food poisoning next week.

The most common source of E-coli bacteria infections in this country is from hamburger meat. The risk is highest for children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those who already have digestive issues or compromised immune systems.

To avoid trouble, wash your hands before handling hamburgers, and cook them thoroughly to 160 degrees inside.

For all your cook-out foods, keep them out of the 'temperature danger zone' between 40 and 140 degrees. That's when bacteria begins to grow.

Also, try to serve food in stages.

"If you're having a large gathering, stick with smaller serving dishes, but have your backup in the fridge to pull out halfway through, so that you can keep things at a good, healthy temperature," says Lindsay Malone, R.D., of the Cleveland Clinic.

When the cookout is over, get leftovers into the fridge quickly, and put them into shallow containers.

Throw them out after 2 or 3 days.

It's a good idea not to keep leftovers of things like pasta and potato salad at all. They have ingredients which can go bad very quickly.

And of course, the rule for any leftover: when in doubt, throw it out.
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