GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The Mesa County Health Department is reminding people to make food safety part of their picnic plans this Independence Day.
It only takes two hours of food being left out of refrigeration for it to develop harmful bacteria that can make people sick.
Using a food thermometer while cooking as well as while serving the food can help ensure the food is the proper temperature to enjoy.
"If you know that you're going to be somewhere and it's going to be really hot and your food is going to be sitting out for longer than two hours, you'll probably want to figure out a way to try to keep it at its proper temperature," said Veronica Daehn Harvey, of the Mesa County Health Department.
People can insulate cold foods with ice to keep them below a recommended temperature of 41 degrees. Hot foods can be kept in something like a crock pot to maintain a temperature above 135 degrees.
Washing produce properly and washing hands during food preparation also ensure food is safe to eat.
"Anytime you're serving food, especially to a bigger group of people at a potluck or something, it's best to do everything you can to make sure people are going to be safe and not get sick," Daehn Harvey said.