With Memorial Day just around the corner, we’re about to kickoff cookout season! Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, shares how you can keep your family and guests safe from food poisoning by following food safety guidelines.

What causes food poisoning to happen, particularly at BBQs?

Nurse Rose: Food poisoning at cookouts tends to happen at cookouts when food is contaminated with germs that make us sick. This is usually caused by:

  • Forgetting to wash your hands after handling raw meat
  • Leaving food out in the heat that should be refrigerated
  • Under-cooking meat
  • Not washing produce

How can we protect ourselves from food-related illness?

Nurse Rose: You can take some simple precautions to keep yourself and your guests healthy at your next cookout.

  • Clean: Wash produce before eating/cooking and wash your hands and surfaces after handling raw meat, fish or eggs.
  • Separate: Do not cross-contaminate your cooked food with raw meat or eggs.
  • Cook: Use a food thermometer to ensure that meat is cooked completely – 145 degrees for whole meat, 160 degrees for ground meat and 165 degrees for poultry
  • Chill: Return food to the refrigerator within two hours of serving, or after one hour when it’s hot outside.

What happens when you get food poisoning?

Nurse Rose: In most cases food poisoning causes symptoms like upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea that may resolve naturally within 24 hours. To be safe, you should seek medical attention if you suspect food poisoning.


Rose Melendez, RN

Rose Melendez, RN

Head of Emergency Department

Rose Melendez, RN is the head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center. Tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to listen to Nurse Rose live on the radio.

For all your minor illnesses and injuries, Adventist HealthCare Urgent Care can help. Walk in or make an online reservation at any of our convenient locations.