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Agencies remind public of food safety guidelines before Memorial Day holiday

JACKSON, Tenn (WNBJ) - With temperatures heating up and the Memorial Day holiday approaching more people are expected to be grilling and having cookouts. To guarantee a safe holiday, 39 news wanted to give the public some food safety guidelines to follow when preparing your meal.

“The first thing we tell everyone is to wash their hands,” said Candy Overstreet, the Environmental Health Program Director at the Jackson-Madison Co. Health Dept.

The Jackson Madison County Health Department says washing your hands before, during, and after cooking is essential to avoid food-borne illness.

“Prior to cooking, after we go to the restroom, in between handling raw meat and vegetables we need to make sure we wash our hands properly,” said Overstreet.

The department also stresses not to mix meat and vegetables when cooking.

“When preparing those items to keep those raw meat separated from your vegetables in preparation. We don’t want any cross-contamination. Things like salmonella can occur from that,“ said Overstreet.,

Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture says to keep hot foods hot and keep cold foods cold to avoid the so-called danger zone where the temperature range causes bacteria to grow.

"If it's 90 degrees or hotter, chances are you can't really keep those unrefrigerated, the cold items unrefrigerated for more than an hour. So, you can perhaps prepare it and then put it in an ice chest," said Sandra Eskin, the Deputy Undersecretary with Food Safety for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA and the Jackson Madison County Regional Health Department say it is so important to keep these food safety guidelines in mind to ensure a safe and healthy holiday.

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