It's summertime and that means grilling season.

The Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service has a new online tool through the Food Safe Families campaign to raise awareness about proper grilling techniques and the dangers of food poisoning risks.

Foodborne illness is a serious public threat in the United States. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about one in six people suffer such illness annually, with the result being 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) research has found that most Americans don't know how to properly check if a burger is safe to eat. In addition, more than 1.8 million pounds of ground beef believed to be contaminated with E. coli was recalled by the USDA in May.

The Food Safe Families recipe tool allows users to insert favorite recipes, and get relevant food safety steps for appropriate ingredients or actions. Users can also import recipes from online recipe sites, including, and, among others.

Among proper cooking tips:

  • Clean: Wash hands with soap and warm water before and after handling raw food. Clean all surfaces and utensils with soap and hot water. Wash all produce under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking.
  • Separate: Use separate plates and utensils to avoid cross-contamination between raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs and foods that are ready to eat (like already cooked foods or raw vegetables).
  • Cook: Cook foods to the safe temperature by using a food thermometer.
  • Chill: Chill foods promptly if not consuming immediately after cooking. Don't leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours, or 1 hour if temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

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