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What you need to know about Labor Day cooking

Whether you're cooking for just you or for the whole neighborhood, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety.

MIDLAND, Texas — Whether you're cooking for one or for the neighborhood, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety.

"Some good habits include, make sure you are washing your hands if you're preparing, cooking, or you are consuming food," said Monica Marentes, a health inspector with the Midland Health Department. "Another good tip would be to make sure you separate your foods. Make sure you're not mixing vegetables with raw meat; make sure you don't cross contaminate." 

Remember that not all meat are created equal and should be cooked at just the right temperature to make sure it's safe.

“And make sure that you’re cooking your food at the proper temperatures," Marentes added. "If you’re cooking chicken, make sure it’s at 165°, if you’re cooking burgers, it’s at 160°, if you’re cooking steak, it’s at 145°.” 

But even if you followed all the right instructions and were safe during preparation and cooking, remember that things can still happen to the food after it’s been served.

“You always want to go ahead and make sure you are refrigerating your food at the correct temperature after you’re done cooking it," Marentes said. "Make sure you don’t leave it out for more than two hours.”

Marentes also says that if you go out to eat at a restaurant and confirm that you got food poisoning because of the restaurant, make sure to contact your local health department as soon as possible to let them know so that they can investigate.

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