Safe & Sizzling – Celebrating July 4th with Food Safety

Written by Nyny Nguyen, VDH Intern

It is that time of year where we celebrate that red, white, and blue with loved ones, friends, and outdoor cookouts! As we prepare for some fireworks, barbecue grilling, and picnics please remember these important food safety reminders so you can have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July.  

  1. Wash Your Hands with soap before, during, and after preparing foods, including raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  2. Preheat and Clean Your Grill as this eliminates any remnants from previous sessions. Scrub thoroughly to ensure a clean cooking surface. Also ensure work surfaces and utensils are clean before and after cooking.
  3. Defrost Thoroughly and Safely. Thaw your poultry, beef, fish, pork, and other meats safely in the refrigerator.
  4. Avoid Cross Contamination. Clean or switch your cooking utensils after touching raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  5. Ensure Food is Fully Cooked to kill harmful germs. Use a food thermometer to make sure your food is cooked to the right internal temperature.
    • 145°F – Whole cuts of beef, pork, or lamb (let rest 3 minutes before serving)
    • 145°F – Fish (whole or fillet)
    • 160°F – Hamburgers, sausage, and other ground beef, pork, or lamb
    • 165°F – Chicken, turkey, and other poultry
  6. Keep Food in Safe Temperatures. Perishable food items should not be left outside for more than two hours. If it is above 90oF, chill food within one hour. Keep your food in coolers or containers with a cold source, such as ice or frozen gel packs.
  7. Store Leftovers Properly. Use airtight containers and store in the refrigerator or freezer within two hours of cooking to avoid bacterial growth. If it is above 90oF, chill food within one hour. Leftovers can usually last up to 3 – 4 days in the refrigerator or 3 – 4 months in the freezer.

By following these few key recommendations and taking necessary precautions, we can all contribute to a safe and enjoyable holiday.