USDA offers helpful tips for holiday food safety
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Fourth of July is just around the corner! Food experts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have some tips to keep you safe against food-borne illnesses.
“Wash your hands!” said Sandra Elkin, deputy undersecretary for food safety. “It is absolutely essential to wash your hands correctly and thoroughly. If you don’t have access to water, make sure you have sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol.” Elkin also says to avoid mixing cooked and uncooked foods as cross-contamination can cause illness. “The only way to be assured that your hamburger, your chicken breast, whatever you’re grilling is safe is to use a meat thermometer,” said Elkin. “Color, firmness, any of those attributes are not going to be assurance that it’s actually safe except for the thermometer.”
For a final safety tip, Elkin said to remember to keep the cold foods cold and the hot foods hot. “If you can, put cold foods on ice or in a cooler,” she said. “Don’t leave it out for more than 2 hours. If the temperature is higher than 90 degrees, it’s only an hour window of food safety for dishes.”
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