USDA: Stay 'food safe' on the Fourth

July 1, 2010

The Department of Agriculture is warning consumers to be food safe on Independence Day by adhering to the following recommendations:

Clean. Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. Make sure all surfaces the food comes into contact with are clean as well.

Separate. Prepare raw meats and poultry separate from produce and cooked foods. Use separate cutting boards for meats and produce to avoid cross-contamination from juices.

Cook. Always use a food thermometer to ensure food is cooked thoroughly. Steaks, roasts, chops and fish should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145° F. Ground beef should reach 160° F. Fully cooked meats such as hot dogs should be cooked to 160° F or until steaming hot.

Chill. Never allow perishable food to sit out for longer than two hours. If the outside temperature if warmer than 90° F, refrigerate perishable foods after one hour.