1. To prevent contamination, marinate meat in a container in the fridge instead of on the counter-top.

2. Use a food thermometer. Even though a burger is brown all the way through, it may still contain dangerous e.coli bacteria. Hamburgers, pork chops and steaks should reach 160°F, while chicken breasts and hot dogs should get to 165°F.

3. Cooked meats should be kept hot (at least 140°F) until served. You can set it to the side of the grill, or in a warm oven (set to 200°F).

4. When you're finished cooking, use a new serving platter and utensils; the juices from raw meat can contain the bacteria salmonella, a common cause of food poisoning.

5. Cold foods, such as cole slaw or potato salad, should be placed in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. Pack meat, poultry and seafood while it1s still frozen so it1ll stay cooler longer. (All perishables should be kept at or below 40°F.)

6. Refrigerate leftovers immediately. Toss any food that's been left out for more than two hours (or one hour if it's left in the car or if the temperature outside is hotter than 90°F).
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