Food safety precautions crucial during grilling season
The U.S. Department Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Ad Council began a campaign stressing food safety during Fourth of July celebrations.
The campaign advises implementing a four-step plan to ensure food safety: clean, separate, cook and chill. First, wash hands and preparation surfaces often; second, use separate plates for raw and cooked food; third, cook food to its proper temperature using a food thermometer; and fourth, don't leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours.
An infographic of the Founding Fathers providing this grilling advice is available at bit.ly/MYqmIy. The campaign is providing this graphic as a resource to use and post freely on the Internet in an effort to spread and promote the message of food safety.
According to a joint press release announcing the campaign, this year 48 million Americans, or roughly one in six, will get sick from a food-borne illness.
Food-borne illnesses surge in the summer season as warm weather promotes bacteria growth. With Americans spending approximately $400 million on beef for the Fourth of July holiday, the chance of contracting a food-borne illness is particularly high.
FDA research done in collaboration with the USDA found only 23 percent of Americans who own a food thermometer use it when grilling hamburgers, despite the discovery that one in every four hamburgers turns brown before reaching a safe internal temperature.
The food safety campaign will also involve using the social networking service Twitter to answer food safety questions from the public at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 28 under the handles @USDAFoodSafety and @USDAFoodSafe_es.
For more information, visit foodsafety.gov. Visitors can access more than 1,300 answers to food safety questions through the Ask Karen app, available through the foodsafety.gov homepage at m.askkaren.gov or in Spanish at m.pregunteleakaren.gov.