4th of July! Time to Eat, but SAFETY FIRST!

Hello Dear Readers,

We are one day away from the Independence of our United States; the great 4th of July. Get out the fireworks! Pour out the drinks! Light up the grill! Are you getting ready for another year of delicious BBQ, family hangout time, and fun activities?

But, you know what’s worse than that awful hangover you may have from one-too-many-beers (or insert drink or activity of choice here) the next day? Keeling over the porcelein throne heaving your guts out and being incredibly sick in bed with possible fevers and chills the next day. What could it have come from? Was it the egg salad? Was it the meat?

The pain. The agony. The tortuous hours you could have been spent having fun, but instead were awfully sick with “the bug” is indeed preventable! Indeed, The super common 24-hour “flu”, as we all call it, is actually from toxin formation (especially from Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus) within foods that have not been stored at the right temperatures or are left to sit out for long periods of time!

Don’t forget, first and foremost, that food safety (proper handling and storage) is imperative to a delightful and eventful weekend of shenanigans.

Ready to Eat ALL the delicious food?

Here are 4 simple tips offered by the FDA to best prevent food poisoning!

USDA Blog Infographic

Clean and wash hands, counter-tops, and other surfaces often.

  • Wash your hands with Soap and Water! A good rule of thumb here is to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Don’t forget to scrub between your fingernails too!
  • WASH YOUR HANDS between handling meats, vegetables, raw, and cooked products.
  • Keep Towels and a Sanitizer In the Kitchen. Every time there is a spill, or splatter, make sure to wipe it up!

Separate and don’t cross-contaminate.

  • Keep MEATS and VEGETABLES separate.
  • Use different cutting boards and plates for meats/poultry/seafood, vegetables, raw, and cooked products.
  • WASH YOUR HANDS between handling meats, poultry, seafood, vegetables, raw, and cooked products.

Cook food to proper temperatures to kill the harmful bacteria.

  • ALWAYS USE A FOOD THERMOMETER. I know, I know…you’re recipe passed down the family says to cook it, and poke the center. “If it pokes back, then it’s ready to eat!” Please don’t do this! Please use a thermometer to test the inside of your food. Oftentimes, it is because the proper temperatures are not met within the food product (especially meats, poultry, and seafood) that foodborne illness occurs. 
  • Do not thaw foods at room temperature; thaw in the refrigerator!

Attached is a copy of the “Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures” Chart as provided by Foodsafety.gov

Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures For Food

Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures For Food

Store and refrigerate food (and leftovers) ASAP!

  • The super common 24-hour “flu”, as we all call it, is actually from toxin formation (especially from Bacillus cereus and Staphylococus aureus) within foods that have not been stored at the right temperatures or are left to sit out for long periods of time! 
Keep Hot Foods above 135F, Keep Cold Foods below 41F

Keep Hot Foods above 135F, Keep Cold Foods below 41F

  • Especially if the weather is hot, please refrigerate all your food within 1 hour.
  • Do not leave food at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
  • There are other guidelines for this; however, we’re assuming that you are enjoying the hot (perhaps humid) summer weather for this 4th of July. Please remember to put your food into the refrigerator.
  • Use a Cooler! 🙂
  • Again, do not thaw foods at room temperature.
  • Reheat leftovers thoroughly!

These basic food safety tips are provided to you by the FDA and the USDA. For further information, please click on the links provided below!

Here’s to all of you having a safe, enjoyable, and fun Fourth of July!

Happy Independence Day!

For Further Food Safety Links and Sites

Disclaimer: I wrote this post for Kitchology’s blog today (Jul 03, 2013). Kitchology is a startup seeking to “create menus based on your family’s preferences and restrictions” with a specialized focus on individuals with dietary restrictions (ie: allergens, intolerances, etc.) You can visit our BLOG (link) or our WEBSITE (link)…although both are still under construction. Please leave us any feedback of interest.

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About floatingsheep
Recently moved to Blacksburg, Virginia (Virginia Tech) for graduate school from good ol' sunny California. Wanting to share my (mis)adventures around the East Coast and in general. :D

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