How to avoid foodborne illness at Labor Day cookouts

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COLUMBIA — Labor Day barbecues might be hot spots for foodborne illness.

According to the CDC, one in six Americans are affected by foodborne illness yearly. Consuming contaminated food or drink is the main cause of food poisoning symptoms. Food poisoning usually subsides within a few days, but in addition to ruining your holiday weekend, it can sometimes be deadly. 

Avoiding foodborne illness is not as simple as not consuming meat that is too pink. The best way to be sure food is safe to eat is to make sure it is handled and cooked properly. Fruits and vegetables can be susceptible to bacteria, so be sure to wash them. has plenty of recommendations to keep your cook-out safe, including:

  • Don't leave raw meat at room tempterature for more than 2 hours, or at temperatures of 90 degrees for more than an hour
  • Fully cook meat all at once, don't cook it halfway and finish it later
  • Don't use the same platter for raw and cooked meat
  • Keep cooked food hot at 140 degrees or warmer until served