GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Nothing say summer and Fourth of July like a backyard barbecue (except maybe fireworks).

But unfortunately, this time of year is the time that doctors see more food-related illnesses that are easily preventable. 

A study the USDA performed last summer looked at the three main culprits behind foodborne illness

  1. Undercooked meats
  2. Cross-contamination 
  3. Improper hand-washing

Researchers studied a group of 383 people and found that only 34 percent of them used a food thermometer to check that food was cooked properly. 

Eating undercooked meat can result in a variety of illnesses, commonly referred to as ‘food poisoning.’ 

People can also get sick when cross-contamination occurs between food preparation surfaces. 

Cutting raw poultry and then using the same knife to chop vegetables without thoroughly washing it can transfer harmful bacteria from the meat onto the vegetables.

The study also showed that people were not washing their hands properly 97% of the time.

The CDC has a four-step food safety guideline that is easy to follow at home -- clean, separate, cook and chill. 

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