Tip of the Day
Fourth of July Food Safety
As grills across the country heat up for picnics in the park or backyard barbeques, so does the risk of food poisoning. Luckily, party hosts can protect their patriotic feasts by sticking to a few easy food-handling and preparation steps.
- Always scrub the grill, outdoor utensils, coolers and other containers with hot soapy water before cooking or packing up your favorite summertime treats.
- Incorporate home food safety into your Fourth of July party theme with colorful red, white and blue coolers, cutting boards, serving trays, plates, napkins and soap.
- Keep raw meats and ready-to-eat foods separate. Use the colorful red, white and blue serving trays to easily separate raw foods and cooked foods to prevent cross-contamination. Before your party, always store raw meats on lower shelves of your refrigerator to prevent raw juices from dripping onto ready-to-eat foods.
- Stock coolers with plenty of ice and/or ice packs and a refrigerator thermometer to keep foods refrigerated at temperatures below 40° F.
- Try to keep foods out of direct sunlight. Set up your buffet table in the shade to make sure your food and guests stay cool.
- Don't forget the two-hour rule. Foods are no longer safe to eat when they have been in the danger zone of 40 to 140° F for more than two hours (one hour if the temperature is above 90° F). Consider setting an alarm on your cell phone to remind you when it has been two hours.
Download the Safe Grilling Guide, and always use a food thermometer to ensure your hot dogs, hamburgers and barbecue party favorites are cooked to a safe internal temperature.
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Reviewed May 2013