Food safety tips for your 4th of July cookout - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Food safety tips for your 4th of July cookout

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -

Before you start up your grill for the holiday, make sure you know how to keep your goodies from going bad.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of food-related illnesses spike during the summer months.

From salads, steaks and sweet treats, you have to make sure your food is staying fresh from the hot weather.

"If it's been out for more than an hour on a buffet table you just throw it away," said Aspirus Wausau Hospital executive chef Ginger Weinkauf.

Weinkauf said if the food has been out for less than an hour, it needs to be put in a cooling place right away.

Experts say you should always wash your hands before and after touching food, and wipe down areas where raw meat has been sitting.

Bacteria grows fastest in hot temperatures.

"It's so you don't get sick, and you don't want to get foodborne illness and end up in the hospital on your holiday," said Weinkauf.

Another tip Weinkauf gives is finding alternative ways to prepare your meals, like using vinegar instead of mayonnaise. 

Experts say if you think you've eaten spoiled food, it's important that you seek medical attention right away.

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