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Health experts say watch out this Fourth of July

Food borne illnesses are something the Health Department is warning people about during the holiday.
The Fourth of July is just around the corner and if you’re planning on spending the day cooking out you’ll want to make sure you properly prepare your food.

Most of the rules are simple to follow and they could save you a trip to the doctor.

"Hand washing before you prepare your foods, hand washing while you're preparing your foods and serving foods and definitely while you're cooking and storing foods afterwards, that’s one of the number one things you can do at home or anywhere else,” said Corey Kirkland with the Houston County Health Department.

If you plan on grilling any meat the health department has a few recommendations. Raw meat can quickly attract bacteria and if not cooked correctly you may leave your summer barbeque not feeling so hot.

"Definitely keep your raw and cooked meats separate,” said Kirkland. “Keep raw foods, their juices especially if you’re marinating something on a raw food make sure it’s not dripping into something else that won't be heated or that's ready to eat food.”

Kirkland also suggests using a thermometer when cooking. Bacteria thrive in temperatures ranging from 41 degrees Fahrenheit to 165. 

After you're done eating you'll want to make sure you put the food away as quickly as you can.

"Keep foods covered while they're in your refrigerator, as well too,” said Kirkland. “I would put leftovers in the refrigerator within a couple hours after you eat and after you serve"

Kirkland says a good rule of thumb is two hours. If you're food has been sitting outside longer then that you should throw it away.

Around 48 million people get sick each year with a food borne illness.

If you would like more safety food tips you can visit adph.org/foodsafety.
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