Family, fireworks, food, and fun are four great reasons for a 4th of July celebration. It is also a great time to fire up the grill and prepare delicious summertime meals. Just don’t let foodborne illness spoil the fun. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 out of 6 Americans will become sick this year and 128,000 will be hospitalized from foodborne illness.
Follow these food safety tips to ensure your holiday meal is safe and healthy:
Clean: clean all surfaces, plates, and utensils with hot, soapy water. It is especially important to clean these items after they have been used to prepare raw meat, poultry, or seafood. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands before preparing meals and after touching raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
Separate: use separate plates and utensils for raw meat, poultry, seafood, and ready-to-eat foods, such as salads and raw fruits and vegetables, to prevent cross-contamination.
Cook: use a thermometer to make sure meat, poultry, and seafood are cooked to the right temperature. Don’t rely on a color change inside burgers to determine if they are cooked; always use a thermometer.
Chill: make sure to chill foods immediately after they are cooked. Discard any food that is left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Make sure to bring an ice chest with plenty of ice if your celebration will be away from home and without access to a refrigerator. Discard any leftovers after four days.
Have a safe and healthy Independence Day weekend!