Food Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy 4th of July


Practicing proper food handling techniques will protect yourself, your family and friends from food-borne illness and food contamination.  Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing, storing and cooking food as you celebrate July 4th.

Wash Hands, Utensils, and Food Preparation Surfaces

  • Food safety begins with hand-washing even in outdoor settings. And it can be as simple as using a water jug, some soap, and paper towels.

  • Consider using moist disposable towelettes for cleaning your hands.

  • Keep all utensils and platters clean when preparing food.

Preparing Fruits and Vegetables

  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten, under running tap water before packing them. Packaged fruits and vegetables labeled "ready-to-eat," "washed," or "triple washed" need not be washed.

  • Rub firm-skin fruits and vegetables under running tap water or scrub with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing with running tap water.

Serving Food Safely

    s cold and hot foods hot.

  • Do not use a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood for anything else unless the plate has first been washed in hot, soapy water.

  • Hot food should be kept hot, at or above 140 °F. Wrap well and place in an insulated container.

  • Foods like chicken salad and desserts in individual serving dishes can also be placed directly on ice, or in a shallow container set in a deep pan filled with ice. Drain off water as ice melts and replace ice frequently.

  • Don't let perishable food sit out longer than 2 hours.

  • Food should not sit out for more than 1 hour in temperatures above 90°F

Ice Cream

Every year homemade ice cream causes several outbreaks of Salmonella infection.   But you can still enjoy homemade ice cream without the risk of Salmonella infection by substituting a pasteurized egg product, egg substitute, or pasteurized shell eggs for the raw eggs in your favorite recipe.

Other options for safe homemade ice cream are to use a cooked egg base or prepare it without eggs. Even when using pasteurized products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture advise consumers to start with a cooked base for increased safety, especially if serving people at high risk.

Finally, ensure that the dairy ingredients you use in homemade ice cream, such as milk and cream, are pasteurized.

For more information, read: Enjoying Homemade Ice Cream without the Risk of Salmonella Infection

A Note About Transporting Food

  • Keep cold food cold. Place cold food in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. Cold food should be held at or below 40°F.

  • Consider packing beverages in one cooler and perishable foods in another.

  • Meat, poultry, and seafood may be packed while it is still frozen so that it stays colder longer. Be sure to keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood securely wrapped so their juices don't contaminate cooked foods or foods eaten raw such as fruits and vegetables.

  • After washing fruits and vegetables dry them with a clean cloth towel or paper towel before packing them.

  • Keep the cooler in the air-conditioned passenger compartment of your car, rather than in a hot trunk. Limit the times the cooler is opened.

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