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Cookout Food Safety Tips

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With big summer holidays like July Fourth right around the corner, many are rushing out the grocery store to grab food for a cookout.

If you're planning a cookout for anytime this summer, the last thing you want is for someone to get sick. We went straight to the experts to get the facts on this one. Registered dietitian Brooke Mercedes gives us some tips on how to keep food safe during those hot summer cookouts.

She starts with chicken salad, which she says is a dish to watch out for at outdoor cookouts.

"I think this is one of the most dangerous items," Mercedes says. "It's mayonnaise-based, plus it has the meat in it as well."

She says that after just one hour above 40 degrees, it's not safe to eat anymore.

Another popular item we often take to cookouts or picnics is deli meats. There are a couple of factors that can determine how long these items are safe in the refrigerator after the event. Mercedes says if it's unopened it will last for up to two weeks, but once the seal is broken it's only good for four to five days.

When the cookout or picnic is over and there is leftover food, Mercedes says you have to act quickly with anything you want to keep.

"If you're putting things in the refrigerator, you have two hours from the time you set it up to get it to the correct temperature," she says. "Then after that you want dishes no more than two inches deep. And after four days, you're done."