July 14, 2024

Fourth of July Food Safety Tips From the USDA

The USDA is offering Fourth of July food safety tips so you can have a great celebration and offer safe food for your family and friends to enjoy. It’s easy: just follow the four steps of clean, separate, cook, and chill.

Fourth of July Food Safety Tips From the USDA

When you are serving guests of varying ages and health concerns, it’s very important to make sure that the food at your party or gathering is wholesome and safe. That means you need to follow certain steps in the kitchen to the letter. They are:

CLEAN. Wash your hands and surfaces such as countertops often. Hands should be washed for 20 seconds with clean water and soap. (Sing Happy Birthday to You twice for accurate timing.) If no running water is available, use hand sanitizer or moist towelettes that contain at least 60 percent alcohol.

SEPARATE. Separate raw meats such as chicken, ground beef, and fish from other foods to avoid cross-contamination of harmful bacteria. Use separate cutting boards when preparing raw meat and poultry and other foods that are ready to eat such as fresh veggies, and use different utensils and platters when placing raw foods on the grill or smoker and taking cooked foods off.

COOK. Cook food to the safe minimum internal temperatures and measure that temperature with an accurate and reliable food thermometer. Every time. Hamburgers and other thin foods, such as sausages and boneless chicken thighs, should have the thermometer inserted through the side and into the center to get the most accurate reading. Ground meat should be cooked to 160°F; ground chicken and poultry to 160°F; all poultry to 165°F; solid cuts of meat to 145°F, pork to 145°F, and fish and shellfish to 145°F.

CHILL. Refrigerate food promptly within two hours (or one hour if the ambient air temperature is over 90°F). Keep hot foods hot above 140°F and cold foods cold below 40°F to avoid the danger zone, where bacterial counts can double every 20 minutes. Hot foods like burgers, hot dogs, and chicken can be kept hot by placing them on a grill on low, in heated chafing dishes, or in a slow cooker, and cold foods like deviled eggs, salads, and guacamole can be nestled in a bed of ice.

Follow these Fourth of July food safety tips from the USDA and enjoy the holiday!

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