Did you know that 48 million people in the U.S. get food poisoning each year? With 4th of July cookouts just around the corner, it’s important to keep these food safety tips in-mind! Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, shares how you can keep your family safe at the holiday BBQ.

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

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 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: Food poisoning can result in mild symptoms that usually resolve naturally like upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. To be safe, seek medical attention immediately 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 Washington Adventist Hospital. 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.