Food Safety Tips for Memorial Day from Award-Winning Food Safety Advocate and Mother

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STOP Foodborne Illness Offers Simple Guidelines for Safe, Enjoyable Holiday Picnics and Barbecues

Nancy Donley, president of STOP Foodborne Illness,, (formerly S.T.O.P. - Safe Tables Our Priority), the leading national advocate for safe food, is offering simple food safety tips to help prevent food poisoning as Americans kick-off the summer picnic and barbecue season this Memorial Day weekend. Donley was just awarded the NSF International Lifetime Achievement Award at the 13th Annual Food Safety Summit for her tireless efforts to improve the safety of the U.S. food supply and advocate for victims of foodborne illness.

“Most people think foodborne illness won’t happen to them, but each year 48 million Americans get sick from foodborne pathogens,” said Donley, whose only son, Alex, died from E. coli-contaminated ground beef in 1993. “STOP’s primary concern is getting meat and food manufacturers to stop these pathogens from reaching consumers in the first place, but until that happens, we want to help consumers buy, store and prepare food safely, especially during the hot summer months.”

STOP’s Food Safety Guidelines for Memorial Day (and All Summer Long):

  •     Make sure you have these essential tools: a cooler, hand sanitizer, and a meat thermometer.
  •     Keep a cooler in the back of your car when grocery shopping to store raw meats on the hot drive home. Always store meats separately from fully cooked and perishable food items.
  •     Bring hand sanitizer if you’re not going to be near a sink to wash your hands when preparing food.
  •     Use a thermometer when cooking meat. Ground meat should reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees before it can be served safely.
  •     Take care to prevent cross-contamination. Use separate cutting boards for your raw meat and other perishables and wash hands often as you prepare foods.
  •     Everyone loves leftovers, but to be safe you have to throw them out if you don’t have a place to cool and store them within two hours of serving (or just one hour if air temperature spikes above 90 degrees).

For more food preparation safety tips please visit If you think you have been sickened from food, please contact STOP’s helpline (1-800-350-STOP) which helps foodborne illness victims navigate the health system to figure out what they have, where it might have come from, and what to do next.

About STOP Foodborne Illness (formerly S.T.O.P. - Safe Tables Our Priority)

STOP Foodborne Illness (STOP) is a national, nonprofit, public health organization dedicated to preventing illness and death from foodborne pathogens. STOP achieves its mission by advocating for sound public policies, building public awareness and assisting those impacted by foodborne illness.


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Beth Strautz
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