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Summer's ripe for food poisoning.

Summertime, and the eating--and cooking--is easy. However, remember to follow basic food safety rules for barbecues and picnics. The Mayo Clinic Health Letter offers suggestions to reduce the risk of food poisoning:

Plan ahead. Thaw meats and other frozen foods in the microwave or refrigerator, not on the counter.

Prepare food properly. Start by washing hands with soap and water. Rinse produce thoroughly. Wash knives and cutting surfaces frequently, especially between handling raw meats and foods to be eaten raw. If possible, use separate cutting surfaces for meats and other foods.

Cook meats to a safe temperature. Employ a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of red meat needs to be at least 160[degrees]F, and poultry 180[degrees]F. Cooked fish should flake easily. The yolks of cooked eggs ought to be firm.

Picnic safely. Pack your cooler full, distributing ice evenly. Place perishable food in small containers for more thorough chilling. Secure raw meat so juices do not contaminate other foods in the cooler. Dell foods should be eaten within hours of purchase or bought the day before and refrigerated overnight. Do not leave foods with meat, eggs, or dairy ingredients sitting out, as they spoil easily.
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Title Annotation:Barbecues & Picnics
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2006
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