Declare Independence from Foodborne Illness this Fourth of July (FSIS) reminds Americans that proper food handling practices can prevent their "Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness" from being threatened by foodborne illness.
PoliticalNews.me - Jun 30,2012 - Declare Independence from Foodborne Illness this Fourth of July
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline
WASHINGTON, —When celebrating our nation's independence this Fourth of July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) reminds Americans that proper food handling practices can prevent their "Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness" from being threatened by foodborne illness. The warm temperatures that draw crowds of people to outdoor celebrations also encourage the growth of bacteria, and incidents of food-related illnesses rise in summer months. But four simple steps—Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill—can help families declare freedom from foodborne illness at Independence Day celebrations.
"We want to provide families with important information that will help reduce the risk of foodborne illness during their Fourth of July celebrations," USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen said. "Small children and the elderly are among the most vulnerable to foodborne illness, and this information is essential in protecting loved ones at family barbecues and picnics."
In time for the Fourth of July holiday, FSIS has created a new infographic in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Ad Council featuring food safety tips from the Founding Fathers. The infographic, fact sheets, videos and podcasts about safe food handling and preparation in warmer months can be found on FSIS' "Grill It Safe" webpage at www.fsis.usda.gov/Food_Safety_Education/
Additionally, representatives from FSIS' Meat and Poultry Hotline will answer consumer questions in English and Spanish from the Twitter handles @USDAFoodSafety and @USDAFoodSafe_es on June 28 at 1 p.m. ET.
Freedom from foodborne illnesses starts with clean surfaces and clean hands. Be sure that you and your guests wash your hands before preparing or handling food. Hands should be washed with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food. Equally important is making sure that the surfaces that come in contact with raw and cooked foods are clean before you start and are washed frequently.
Raw meats and poultry should be prepared separately from vegetables and cooked foods. As you chop meats and veggies, be sure to use separate cutting boards. Juices from raw meats can contain harmful bacteria that could spread to raw veggies and already cooked foods.
As you take the cooked meats off the grill, be sure to place them on a clean platter, not on the dish that held them when they were raw. The juices left on the plate from raw meat can spread bacteria to safely cooked food.
Never begin cooking without your most important tool—a food thermometer. Color is not a reliable indicator of doneness. Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often brown quickly and may appear done on the outside, but still may not have reached a safe minimum internal temperature to kill any harmful bacteria. Whole cuts of pork, lamb, veal, and beef should be cooked to 145 °F as measured by a food thermometer placed in the thickest