If grilling burgers is a part of your Fourth of July plans, don't let the most recent E. Coli scare get you down.
A nationwide recall of ground beef distributed by the JBS Swift Company may have many grill masters worried about the burgers sitting in the freezer for this weekend, but the State Health Department's Stephanie Marquis says some simple precautions can help keep everyone healthy.
Marquis says most of the meat was likely sold at stores over a month ago, so any beef bought recently should be just fine. If you've been holding on to meat bought around that time, a simple call to the grocery store where it was purchased should help determine if it is affected by the recall.
However, even if you don't need to worry about tainted meat, Marquis says you can avoid most food-borne illnesses if you make sure to cook the meat thoroughly on the grill. She says most of the latest E. Coli-related illnesses were the result of undercooked beef. Beef should be heated to a temperature of 160-degrees Fahrenheit to kill any bacteria.
Marquis says keeping a clean cooking and serving area, and washing with soap and water after handling raw meat are also good safety precautions for preventing food-related illnesses.