Happy July 4th!!
It’s a great day for picnics and fireworks. You sure don’t want food poisoning to spoil your fun, so be mindful of the following food safety tips:
Wash your hands before you prepare foods, in-between handling raw and ready-to-eat foods, and of course, after going to the bathroom. If you’re going somewhere handwashing facilities won’t be available, take along a wet, soapy washcloth in a baggie. If nothing else, use wet napkins or sanitizers. They’ll reduce the germs on your hands, but won’t totally eliminate them.
Choose the right temperature for cooking and storage. Cooking: Safe temperatures are 160 degrees for hamburgers; 170 degrees for chicken breasts; 180 degrees for a whole chicken, wings and thighs; 160 to 170 degrees for pork; 145 to 170 degrees for unground beef; and 145 degrees for seafood. Hot dogs and other processed or precooked meats such as kolbassi should be reheated to 160 degrees.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, follow these guidelines: beef and pork should be grilled until all the pink is gone, poultry until there is no red in the joints and fresh fish until it flakes with a fork. Just remember, this isn’t as reliable a test of doneness as using a thermometer.
Be sure to use different plates to carry raw meats and cooked meats to and from the grill so bacteria-laden juices left on the plate from raw meat don’t come in contact with and contaminate cooked meat.
Storage: Once perishables such as meat, poultry, fish and any foods containing eggs or dairy products are cooked and served, any leftovers should be kept below 40 or above 140 degrees. If these foods can’t be kept hot or cold, they should be thrown out after two hours.
One final note: Be careful with melons. Be sure to wash the melon rind before you cut into it to minimize pushing bacteria down into the flesh.
Have a safe, happy and healthy 4th of July!