ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Many families will head outdoors and fire up the grill this Fourth of July. In fact, 80% of people nationwide will attend a Fourth of July barbecue, picnic or cookout. However, the hot sun can bring opportunities for foodborne illnesses to spread through our picnic foods.
According to the CDC, roughly 1 out of 6 Americans get sick from food poisoning each year. If someone thinks they may have been infected, they should get as much rest and water as possible. If they can’t hold fluids, if symptoms are severe or persist for more than three days, they should contact their doctor or call 911.
Below are four simple steps to take when preparing food for a picnic or in your home.
- Make sure to have plenty of clean utensils and bowls to serve from and hand cleaning supplies
- Make sure you have foil or plastic wrap to keep bugs away from cooked foods and to store leftovers.
- Be sure to clean your fruits and vegetables before leaving home.
- Keep raw meat containers separate from cooked meat containers.
- Never reuse items that touched raw meat or poultry to serve the food once it has been cooked.
- Don’t use marinades that had raw meats to pour over the cooked meat later.
- When barbequing, glowing coals indicate the pit is hot enough.
- Keep raw meats in the cooler until time to grill.
- Uncooked meats should be kept separate from everything else and not even placed near partially cooked foods on the grill.
- Meats should also be turned regularly to make sure they are cooked thoroughly.
- Watch for cross contamination of foods.
- Use a meat thermometer.
- When planning a picnic, use two coolers or ice chests: one for the food and one for drinks because people are always opening and closing the cooler to get drinks throughout the event, and that raises the temperature inside the cooler each time the lid is open.
- Put small amounts of food out at a time, keeping the rest in the cooler and staying cold!
- Keep cold foods on ice while serving too. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold!
Learn more about Food Safety here.