July 29, 2021

Fourth of July Food Safety Tips From the USDA to Stay Safe

These Fourth of July food safety tips from the USDA will help you and your guests stay safe to enjoy the long holiday weekend. Follow basic food safety tips, and add those that apply when you are cooking and eating outdoors, especially in hot weather.

Fourth of July Food Safety Tips From the USDA to Stay Safe

First, start by always washing your hands with soap and water before you start cooking and before you eat. Learn how to properly wash your hands.

Second, keep raw meats, poultry, seafood, and eggs away from foods that are eaten uncooked, such as produce and salads. Use separate and different colored cutting boards for meats and for fresh fruits and vegetables, and yet another for cheeses, which can be contaminated with bacteria.

If you are grilling outdoors, follow the rules for safe grilling, including not grilling inside, in a tent, or even in a garage or covers porch. And learn and follow the temperatures for safe grilling. Ground beef, veal, and pork must be cooked to 160°F; all poultry, including ground poultry, to 165°F; whole cuts of meat to 145°F with a three minute rest time, and seafood to 145°F. And make sure you know whether or not you are grilling mechanically tenderized meat, which must be cooked to a higher temp to avoid foodborne illness.

When you are eating outside, remember the two hour rule: perishable foods must be refrigerated within two hours of coming off the grill or out of the fridge. If the ambient temperature is above 90°F, that time shrinks to one hour. And remember that coolers with ice can keep food cold, but they can’t chill food down to a safe temperature fast enough to avoid bacterial growth.

Finally, pack your coolers with bags of ice, gel packs, or even frozen water bottles to store you food to the picnic area. And it’s a good idea to put a refrigerator thermometer in your cooler to make sure that the temperature is at 40°F or below. Have a happy holiday with these Fourth of July food safety tips!

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