September 30, 2023

Food Safety Tips for Labor Day Weekend From Experts

It’s Labor Day, the last blast of summer in the United States. And many people are grilling and cooking outside. The New York State Department of Health is reminding people about food safety tips for Labor Day weekend.

Labor Day Food Safety

There is a recent multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to kosher chicken. There are seventeen people sick in four states, including Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. And eleven of those patients live in New York State. How people prepare chicken, especially if it is cooked outside on the grill, can leave some susceptible to food poisoning.

So, here’s what you can do. When you buy meats, wrap them in plastic bags to stop blood and juices from dripping onto other foods, especially those that are eaten without further cooking. Refrigerate perishable foods promptly. Do not store foods at room temperature.

If you are going to marinate meat, never do so on the counter. Any marinating meat should be kept in the refrigerator. Don’t taste the marinade after it has touched the meat, and do not re-use it unless it has been boiled for at least 2 minutes.

Be careful when you are handling raw meats. Never place cooked food on any unwashed plate or surface that previously held raw beef poultry, pork, fish, eggs, or seafood. Any cutting boards and countertops used for beef, poultry pork, fish, seafood, or egg preparation should be washed immediately with soap and water to prevent cross-contamination.

Do not wash raw meat before cooking. It is customary in some homes to wash raw chicken before cooking it. All that will do is aerosolize bacteria and spread it around the kitchen, potentially cross-contaminating an area three feet wide around the sink.

Always wash your hands after touching raw meat. Use utensils to handle the raw meat; wash the utensil (and the food thermometer probe) every time it touches meat that isn’t thoroughly cooked. And make sure that you know safe final internal temperatures for meats. Juice or interior color is not a reliable indicator of doneness. A food thermometer is the only thing you can use to make sure the food is cooked properly and is safe.

Chicken should be cooked to 165°F. Hamburger should be cooked to 160°F, pork to 150°F, leftovers to 165°F, eggs to 145°F (some say 160°F), and other foods to 140°F. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat; make sure the probe doesn’t pass through the meat, which will give you an inaccurate reading. So utilize these food safety tips and have a safe Labor Day picnic.


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