Barbecues and pool parties with family and friends often top the list summer activities. But, cooking outside can lead to bacteria growth and food-borne illness Cathy Cochran, a food safety expert at the United States Department of Agriculture, warns that the warmer months are prime time for growing bacteria. “Food-borne illness does peak in the summer time; that’s partially because bacteria does grow fastest in warm temperatures but also because people are cooking away from their refrigerators.”

The USDA suggests keeping your cooking area clean, separating your cooked food from raw food in order to avoid cross contamination, using a meat thermometer to make sure your foods are cooked to the proper temperature, and chilling leftovers to avoid bacteria growth.

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