FILE - Grilling, Fourth of July, independence day

As the grocery-getters of Illinois crowd their way in and out of the produce aisles in preparation for their holiday cookouts tomorrow, officials want them to remember some food safety guidelines.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is warning of the dangers of food being left out on the picnic table this Independence Day.

Spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said it’s easy to forget about the potato salad when keeping track of the grill.

“Make sure food in the cooler stays below 40 degrees,” she said. “Pack the food with ice or frozen gel-packs."

While many cases of food poisoning come with symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting, others can be more serious.

“It can last much longer and can be very serious,” Arnold said.

And never trust a cook who swears by the “eyeball method” of internal meat temperature.

Official recommendations for fully cooked meats are as follows:

  • 145 degrees: whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal
  • 145 degrees: fish
  • 160 degrees: hamburgers and other ground beef
  • 165 degrees: all poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs

Arnold also advised hosts and guests to make sure all leftovers are refrigerated or put on ice within two hours after cooking, or one hour if the temperatures hit 90.


Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois government and statewide issues for INN. Lauterbach has managed and produced shows for news/talk radio stations in both Bloomington/Normal and Peoria, and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

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