The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) reminds people that proper food handling and preparation can help prevent foodborne illness. Each year one out of six Americans get sick from contaminated foods or beverages, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates.
“This upcoming Fourth of July weekend is expected to be hot, and foodborne germs thrive in warmer temperatures,” said Laura Cronquist, an epidemiologist with the NDDoH. “The North Dakota Department of Health would like to offer a few additional tips to help keep friends and family safe from foodborne illness.”
Key food safety recommendations include:
- Wash hands and surfaces often.
- Keep fresh produce separate from raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs. Use separate cutting boards and plates.
- Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Scrub firm produce with a clean produce brush.
- Keep cold food cold. Place cold food in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. Cold food should be stored at 40 °F or below to prevent bacterial growth.
- Do not reuse platters or utensils. Using the same platter or utensils that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood allows bacteria from the raw food’s juices to spread to the cooked food. Serve your food with a clean platter and utensils.
- Use a food thermometer to ensure food is thoroughly cooked to a safe internal temperature. Cook ground meats, including hamburger, to 160 °F. Steaks, roasts, and chops should be cooked to 145 °F with a three-minute rest time. Cook poultry to 165 °F.
- Keep “ready” food hot, at or above 140 °F. For example, grilled food can be kept hot until served by moving it to the side of the grill rack or by using a warming tray.
- Once you have served food, it should not sit out for longer than two hours, or one hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90 °F. If food is left out longer, throw it away.
- Leftovers should be reheated to 165 °F.
- Throw out leftovers when they expire. See the Cold Food Storage Chart for guidelines on storing food in the refrigerator and freezer.
To learn more about food safety, visit www.foodsafety.gov.