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.
part of the meat, followed by a three-minute rest time before carving or consuming. Hamburgers and other ground beef should reach 160 °F. All poultry should reach a minimum temperature of 165 °F. Fish should be cooked to 145 °F. Fully cooked meats like hot dogs should be grilled to 165 °F or until steaming hot.
If you are smoking meats, the temperature in the smoker should be maintained between 225 °F and 300 °F for safety. Be sure to use your food thermometer to be certain the food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.
Keeping food at a safe temperature can be a concern at outdoor picnics and cookouts. Too often, food is prepared and left to sit out while guests munch over the course of several hours. Bacteria grow most rapidly between 40 °F and 140 °F, so perishable food should never sit out for more than two hours. If the temperature is higher than 90 °F—which is common in the summer—food should not sit out more than one hour. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly and discard any food that has been sitting out too long.
It is important to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Hot foods can be kept hot on the grill and cold foods can be kept chilled with ice packs or ice sources in a cooler.
Still have questions? Ask Karen!
Whether you are cooking in the kitchen or grilling out this Independence Day, make Mobile Ask Karen the first guest on your list. Ask Karen is USDA's virtual food safety representative available 24/7 at www.AskKaren.gov or m.AskKaren.gov on your smartphone. Mobile Ask Karen can also be downloaded from the Android app store. On June 26, 2012, FSIS launched "Mobile Pregúntele a Karen," the Spanish-language version of Mobile Ask Karen. Mobile Pregúntele Karen and the desktop-based Pregúntele a Karen also are available 24 hours a day at m.PregunteleaKaren.gov or PregunteleaKaren.gov.
Consumers can email, chat with a live representative, or call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline directly from these apps. To use these features on the app, simply choose "Contact Us" from the menu. The live chat option and the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854), are available in English and Spanish from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.
This seasonal food safety outreach is part of a multi-faceted USDA initiative to prevent foodborne illness. As part of this initiative, USDA has joined the Ad Council, the FDA and the CDC to launch Food Safe Families, a consumer food safety education campaign. It is the first joint public service campaign to empower families to further reduce their risk of foodborne illness at home by checking their key food safety steps: clean, separate, cook, and chill. For more information, go to www.foodsafety.gov.
Today's action is in addition to other FSIS has put in place during President Barack Obama's Administration to date to safeguard the food supply, prevent foodborne illness, and improve consumers' knowledge about the