Everyone loves a Fourth of July cookout, but it's important to take some precautions so food poisoning doesn't ruin your picnic.

Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department Deputy Director Gary Hickman says the best thing people can do is keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

"Basically what that means is anything that needs to be kept frozen is zero degrees Fahrenheit and anything that needs to be kept cold is 41 degrees Fahrenheit," said Hickman.

"If you're going to cook, you want to make sure that you know what you're cooking and how long to cook it for," he added.

Hickman says whole muscle meats, such as steaks, have a tendency to contaminate from the outside in and really only need a good sear, while chicken and ground beef should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

"Everybody likes that pink-in-the-middle hamburger, but it's probably better if it's not," said Hickman. "They can still be juicy, but raw hamburger, let's face it, it's all mixed up together and if you don't take care of it at home or you leave it out to long, it starts to grow things."

Hickman says the best way to ensure food is cooked to the right temperature or staying cold enough is to use a food thermometer.

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