During summer, many take the heat out of the kitchen and over to the grill. While barbecuing is a great way to celebrate with friends and family, cooking outside in hot summer temperatures can lead to bacteria growth and food-borne illness.

Cathy Cochran, a food safety expert at the United States Department of Agriculture, told FoxNews.com that the warmer months are prime time for growing bacteria.

Food-borne illness does peak in the summer time; that's partially because bacteria does grow fastest in warm temperatures but also because people are cooking away from their refrigerators, and they’re running water and the multiple sets of utensils that their kitchen provides,” she said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests four steps while cooking outside to keep bacteria at bay:

- Keep your cooking area clean

- Separate your cooked food from raw food in order to avoid cross contamination

- Use a meat thermometer to make sure your foods are cooked to the proper temperature

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