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Top causes for food poisoning on grilling’s biggest day

Food safety experts say the holiday is also prime time for food poisoning.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Along with Independence Day’s fireworks and festivities, no doubt there will be plenty of food.

The Fourth of July is actually the number one day of the year for grilling out. More than half of all Americans surveyed plan on firing up the grill sometime on the fourth.

But food safety experts say the holiday is also prime time for food poisoning.

The CDC reports 48 million people will get food poisoning every year, and a recent study breaks that down into the three biggest causes.

- Undercooked meat

- Cross-contamination

- Improper hand washing

Grill Safety Infographic

Undercooked Meat

So let’s start with the meat. You’ve got the hot dogs, you might have some chicken breast, and maybe a hamburger. All of these different meats have different internal temperatures they need to reach before they’re safe to eat

- Fish is 145°

- Hamburgers 160°

- Chicken and precooked meats like hotdogs 165°

This is something that’s hard to just eyeball from the outside. Experts suggest using a food thermometer instead. If that’s unrealistic, cut into the meat to make sure its fully cooked through and fully brown for hamburger meat.


This can be a challenge to avoid especially when you’re transporting food before its cooked and you’re cooking outside.

One of the biggest mistakes can be taking raw meat off the platter and then placing the cooked hamburgers or chicken back on the same platter after they’re cooked. It’s a sure recipe for getting sick.

Hand Washing

This one sounds so basic, but unfortunately, one that’s often overlooked leading to foodborne illness.

It’s vital to wash your hands, especially after using the bathroom, touching someone else who may not have washed their hands or messing around with raw meat. Experts can’t stress enough, WASH THOSE HANDS!!!

The Centers for Disease Control and FDA both have published similar tips for summertime grilling safety.

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