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4th of July Food Safety Tips

It is never too early to start planning for safety measures for your family’s 4th of July holiday celebration. This holiday is a great time to celebrate and enjoy your time with family and friends. However, it can be easy to let your guard down, with all of the celebration going on.

Here are some food safety tips from Physicians Premier, your local City Base ER, to help you have a safe and happy Independence Day celebration.

Cooking Outdoors

If there’s one thing Texans are known for, it’s summer backyard get-togethers and BBQ! However, warmer weather can invite some unwanted guests such as foodborne illness and bacteria. This is mainly because of two things. First, bacteria multiply at a faster rate in warm temperatures, and second, food preparation outdoors in general can make safe food handling a challenge.

This time of the year, people think of grilling mishaps like burns when they think of outdoor food emergencies, but emergency rooms see a lot of patients who get sick because of food that has been in the heat for an extended period of time, and from eating salads.

When cooking outdoors, you do not have the safety controls that an indoor kitchen provides, like a sink where you can wash food and your hands, as well as a refrigerator. Food that is not properly stored, cleaned, and cooked can give foodborne illness.

So, before the 4th of July holiday, we encourage you to review these tips to keep food safe.

1. Clean – Wash your hands, and wash them often, to help prevent the spread of bacteria!

  • With the use of plenty of soap, wash your hands under running water for at least twenty seconds.
  • If you’re camping and there’s no sink available, be sure to pack water for cleaning and preparation or bring wet, clean, disposable washcloths, paper towels, and moist towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands.

2. Separate – Keep cooked and raw foods separate from each other. Improper handling of kitchen tools, food, and surfaces can transmit microorganisms from raw to cooked food. One of the prime causes of foodborne illness is cross-contamination during grilling, preparation, and serving food.

  • When packing items in a cooler, use bags to keep juices and raw meats from coming in contact with other foods.
  • Use separate utensils and plates.

3. Cook – Don’t forget to use a thermometer to help prevent foodborne illness. According to food experts, food is safely cooked when it is heated at a high enough temperature for a long enough time. To ensure the safety of poultry, meat, egg products, and seafood, use a food thermometer.

4. Chill – Foods that are not handled and stored properly are a breeding ground for bacteria.

  • Perishable foods such as cooked meats, luncheon meats, pasta or potato salads should be kept in a cooler with ice packs, several inches of ice, or containers of frozen beverage.
  • Keep the cooler in the coolest part of the car while driving. Place the cooler out of the sun and in the shade whenever possible.
  • The beverage cooler may be opened more frequently, making the temperature inside fluctuate. Consider packing perishable food in one cooler, beverages in another.
  • Replenish the ice in the cooler if needed to preserve the temperature of the cooler.

Nothing is more fun than summer holiday get-togethers! However, if things end up a little less fun, know that Physicians Premier, your City Base ER, is open 24/7 – even on holidays! We’ll get you in and out and feeling better in no time.

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