Celebrate Safely

At Comark we want you to celebrate safely this 4th of July! If your plans to celebrate Independence Day with family and friends, either today, or over the weekend, involve barbecues and eating outdoors, then here’s a few tips to help you keep safe!

When it comes to Independence Day food, there’s nothing better than a picnic or barbecue with family and friends. You’ll want to make sure there is plenty of food to go round – but you should also make sure you celebrate safely..

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has just posted it’s July 4th food safety advice and we’re doing our bit for food safety by urging you go about your celebrations with food safety in mind.

Preparing Safely

First and foremost, keep your food preparation areas, utensils and equipment clean and wash your hands between different activities, but especially after handling raw meat and poultry.

Make sure that salads and other cold dishes are not left standing outside of the refrigerator or cooler for too long. The summer temperatures can rise in July. Warm, humid weather is the ideal environment for bacteria that cause food-borne illness.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends keeping food and perishable items out of the so-called ‘Danger Zone’ to prevent pathogens from multiplying and spreading, which sits around 40°F through 140°F

Cooking Safely

We all have our own individual preferences when it comes to meat and poultry, but one thing that should always be consistent, especially if you want to celebrate safely. is cooking all meat and poultry to the safe minimum internal temperature. The best way to ensure that is with a food thermometer – a handy pocket digital thermometer is not only an inexpensive and practical kitchen tool, but also offers peace of mind when it comes to those all important food temperatures.

Check all your meat and poultry is cooked perfectly, by probing the thickest area with a food thermometer. You really can’t tell in the same way, just by looking at the outside of the food, or even by checking that the juices run clear.

Courtesy of the USDA

Beef, lamb, pork and veal – that includes steaks, chops and roasts – should be cooked to at least 145°F and be allowed to rest afterwards.

Fish should likewise be cooked to at least 145°F.

Ground meats will need a little longer to ensure that any foodborne pathogens are killed off – so cook to at least 160°F.

And the number one source of food borne illness – poultry – whatever form it takes, should be cooked through to an internal temperature of 165°F .

Keeping Food Safely

Whilst the focus here is on safe meat and poultry temperatures, you shouldn’t forget about those toppings and sides! Mayonnaise, tomato, avocado and salad stuffs should all be kept as cool as possible, even when serving outdoors. Placing the plates and bowls containing these items onto trays of ice should help keep temperatures down.

In general, we would recommend that any perishable items be kept outside for no longer than two hours – just one hour if outside temperatures top 90 °F.

Make sure to refrigerate any leftovers within those same time-frames. If you’re not sure how long something’s been left out don’t risk it – throw it away!

Above all we just want you to have fun and celebrate safely!

Wishing you all a very happy 4th July!