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cooked per the label or recipe instructions. Be sure to cook chicken, beef and pork thoroughly to avoid salmonella. Hamburgers should not have any pinkness when they are done. A cooked egg base rather than raw eggs in your crowd-pleasing homemade ice cream is safer to guard against possible salmonella infections. Finally: Chill. Bacteria can rapidly


multiply in food that is kept at room temperature. After your barbecue is over, refrigerate leftover foods immediately. Do not leave food out at room temperature. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that foodborne illnesses increase in the summertime due to warmer temperatures. Food can actually become contaminated in less than one hour if not refrigerated properly. Listeria can be found in chicken, beef and also processed meat such as hot dogs. Keep hot dogs and other processed foods stored at cool enough temperatures for the appropriate length of time. Storing foods at the wrong temperature is the most common cause of foodborne illness. This is certainly preventable. The CDC estimates that one in six Americans get sick from contaminated foods or beverages. Children younger than 5 years


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old, pregnant women, adults older than 65 and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get sick from contaminated foods. By thoroughly cooking grilled meats and washing fruits and vegetables, you can help prevent illness from E. coli. In general, the symptoms of foodborne illness are usually vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention, and your healthcare provider will determine the cause. You may be asked if you have eaten raw or poorly cooked foods, especially eggs and meats. Foodborne illness is often minor and is not life-threatening. By taking the necessary precautionary measures to ensure the cleanliness and safety of your foods, you can usually prevent foodborne illness. Remember: Clean, separate, cook and chill. Follow these tips for healthy menu options


and grill-and-food-handling safety to enjoy your barbecue.


Ann Lambert, MSN, CPNP-BC, is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Auburn University School of Nursing and works as a Primary Care PNP with Pediatric Associates in Alexander City, AL.


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