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Oneida County Health Department offers food safety tips for upcoming Memorial Day cookouts

The weather forecast looks beautiful this Memorial Day weekend and perfect to gather with friends and family for a cookout. Warmer temperatures can cause germs to flourish, and food-borne illness can be serious and sometimes life-threatening. Practicing good handling, cooking and storage can help avoid food poisoning and illness.

Wash your hands if you are preparing/cooking the food. Wash your hands before you eat. It’s a simple task, but one that is extremely important in helping keep us all healthy. Make sure the utensils, dishes and cooking surfaces are also kept clean to avoid cross contamination. Do not prepare or serve food if you don’t feel well or have sores or cuts.

Keep your warm food warm and keep your cold food cold to control the growth of bacteria. Know the safe temperatures and how to properly store the food. In hot weather, cold food should be refrigerated after being out for up to two hours and only one hour if the air temperature is 90 degrees or warmer. Salads and meat generally should not be stored in the refrigerator for more than a few days before throwing it out. For more specific information, a cold food storage chart can be found at

Thawing meat, poultry or seafood should never be done on a counter, but instead, in the refrigerator, with cold water or in a microwave (if you plan to cook immediately following).

Make sure to cook all meats to their recommended temperatures. Poultry needs to be cooked to 165 degrees, whereas fish and whole cuts of beef need to be 145 degrees. For more specific information, visit Using a food thermometer is the best way to know if you’re cooking your food to a safe temperature.

Symptoms of food poisoning can include vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. These illnesses are preventable if you take the necessary safety steps. To learn more about food safety, visit and

Utica Phoenix Staff
Utica Phoenix Staff
The Utica Phoenix is a publication of For The Good, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) in Utica, NY. The Phoenix is an independent newsmagazine covering local news, state news, community events, and more. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and also check out Utica Phoenix Radio at 95.5 FM/1550 AM, complete with Urban hits, morning talk shows, live DJs, and more.

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