June 16, 2024

Fourth of July Food Safety Tips From the USDA to Avoid Illness

These Fourth of July food safety tips from the USDA will help you avoid foodborne illness this holiday weekend.  Because more people are staying at home and cooking at home, these tips are important.

Fourth of July Food Safety Tips From the USDA to Avoid Illness

Dr. Mindy Brashears, the USDA’s Under Secretary for Food Safety said in a statement, “Foodborne illness can increase during summer because of the warmer temperatures and extended time spent outside. You may not be grilling at the park this year, but instead you may be grilling at home. As we celebrate this Fourth of July holiday, I encourage consumers to use food safety steps to reduce their risk of illness.”

First, avoid cross-contamination between raw meats and poultry and foods that are eaten uncooked. Wash and sanitize all surfaces and utensils after they touch raw meats and poultry.

A recent USDA survey found that 34% of respondents don’t use a different utensil to take cooked food off the grill that was used to put raw food on the grill. This can transfer bacteria to the cooked food. Have extra cleaning and sanitizing supplies for your cookout.

Always use a food thermometer when cooking beef, fish, ground meats, pork, lamb, veal, and poultry. FSIS Administrator Paul Kiecker said, “More than 25% of burgers can turn brown inside before they are fully cooked. Although your grilled foods may look done, foodborne illness causing germs are not killed until the safe internal temperature has been reached. Using a food thermometer is the only way to know your food is done and safe to eat.” Beef, pork, lamb and veal roasts, steaks and chops, and fish should be cooked to 145°F. Ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal should be cooked to 160°F. And whole poultry, breasts, and ground poultry should be cooked to 165°F. Every time.

And never leave perishable foods outside of refrigeration more than two hours. If the temperature is above 90°F, as it will be in much of the country this weekend, that time shrinks to just one hour. This rule applies to leftovers from the grill, cold salads, and cut fruits and vegetables. If you aren’t sure how long food has been out of refrigeration, throw it away.

And have a happy and food safe Fourth of July!

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