‘Danger zone’ for cookout food: Making sure you and your guests stay safe

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(WYTV) – How does a summer cookout end with an evening spent in the bathroom?

If you don’t keep the food at a safe temperature, it can grow bacteria that will make you and your guests sick.

Some summer food is more likely to grow bacteria than others.

“Meats, dairy products and any form of animal product,” said Julia Zumpano, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic. “Or salads made with a sauce that may contain egg yolks, like a mayonnaise-based pasta salad, macaroni salad, egg salad. Any of those things are particularly more dangerous.”

Food left out at room temperature or warmer for too long can result in the growth bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli. Be sure to avoid the temperature “danger zone” — between 40 and 140 degrees — which is the range in which bacteria grows most rapidly. Keep hot dishes at or above 140 degrees and cold dishes at or below 40 degrees.

Don’t leave food out longer than two hours, and wash your hands and utensils.

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