OSCEOLA COUNTY\u00a0\u2014\u00a0The time has come once again to break out of the house and enjoy the sun. This is the time\u00a0of year for grilling. While being able to cook outdoors is more enjoyable, there are extra precautions\u00a0individuals must take to protect family and friends. In order to lower the chances of putting others at risk\u00a0for food-borne illnesses, please keep the following in mind: Clean\u00a0\u2014\u00a0The Central Kitchen, a publication of Central Michigan District Health Department, states that "properly washing\u00a0hands and the exposed portion of the arms is the first line of defense in the fight against\u00a0disease causing microorganisms." It is also very important to wash cutting boards,\u00a0utensils and food prep areas. This needs to be done before preparing food and anytime\u00a0you switch the type of food. Also remember to clean the grill surface even when using\u00a0foil to prevent foreign objects from getting into the food. Remember to properly wash\u00a0hands. Run them under warm water, then lather with anti-bacterial soap for 20 seconds\u00a0or long enough to sing the alphabet song. Then rinse and towel dry (paper towels\u00a0recommended). The proper way to clean food prep areas, cutting boards, and utensils is\u00a0to wash with hot soapy water then rinse. Grill\u00a0\u2014\u00a0When marinating, place the food in the refrigerator until you are ready to place on the grill. Do not reuse marinade that has been used on raw meats. Make sure that you place food on a hot grill right away, especially if partially cooking meat inside first.\u00a0It is important to check food with a meat thermometer to make sure the food is cooked thoroughly. Poultry should be cooked to a minimum temperature of 165\u00a0degrees Fahrenheit, red meats cooked to 155 degrees Fahrenheit, and pork needs to reach a minimum temperature of 145\u00a0degrees Fahrenheit. Once meat is cooked, never place it back on a platter or use utensils that were used with raw meat. Serve\u00a0\u2014\u00a0Hot foods need to be kept above 140\u00a0degrees Fahrenheit\u00a0and cold foods need to be kept at or\u00a0below 40\u00a0degrees Fahrenheit. Here are a few ideas to keep hot foods safe: they can be wrapped with tin\u00a0foil and placed in an insulated container or move them away from the direct flame on\u00a0the grill. Cold foods can be placed in a cooler that is filled with ice or food placed in a\u00a0shallow container can be placed directly on ice. Chill\u00a0\u2014\u00a0Hot or cold foods should not sit out any longer than two hours at room\u00a0temperature. If this happens or you are unsure, just toss it to be on the safe side. It is\u00a0best to take care of food by placing it in refrigerator as soon as possible. Keep food out\u00a0of the danger zone that is between 40 to 140\u00a0degrees Fahrenheit, which is when bacteria can thrive. So just remember clean, grill, serve, and chill to help protect family, friends, and yourself while cooking outside this summer. To learn more about food safety visit usda.gov and click the food safety link. You can also visit our website cmdhd.org and look under environmental health.