VDACS News Releases
July 3, 2023
Don’t Let Foodborne Illnesses Spoil Your Fourth of July
Contact: Michael Wallace
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) encourages everyone to protect their family and friends from food borne illnesses by implementing food safety precautions into their Fourth of July celebration. To help, VDACS offers the following precautions to keep food safe from harmful bacteria:
Clean properly: Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Thoroughly clean utensils, dishes, and surfaces like the grill and cutting board before use.
Prevent cross-contamination: Cross-contamination is the transfer of harmful bacteria onto ready-to-eat food, often due to improper handling practices. Always separate raw meat and vegetables by using different cutting boards, plates, and utensils.
Cook thoroughly: Food thermometers are a great tool to ensure that food is properly cooked. Cues like color, firmness, and grill marks are not reliable indicators of doneness. The USDA recommended safe minimum internal temperatures are:
Store at safe temperatures: Food is considered to be in the “Danger Zone” when stored in temperatures between 41° F and 135° F. Bacteria can multiply to dangerous levels at these temperatures, which increases the risk of foodborne illness.
Prevent Cross-Contamination: Never reuse a plate or utensils that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood for serving, until it has been washed in hot, soapy water.
Please visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website for more information on safely handling food outdoors, www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/handling-food-safely-while-eating-outdoors.
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