I love the 4th of July. I love spending time with family and friends, catching the fireworks, and the Bar-b-ques. Oh, how I love the bar-b-ques. 🙂 Hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans… Yes, I definitely love the Bar-b-ques.
But did you know how serious food poisoning can be? It is so much more than just an upset stomach. It is a serious health threat to Americans. In fact, the CDC estimates that about 1 in 6 Americans could suffer from foodborne illness this year. (That’s about 48 million people! Yikes!) In turn, that will lead to about 128,000 hospitalizations, and, even worse, an estimated 3,000 deaths. Scary stuff! And all because people don’t take the time to take the proper food safety precautions.
The heat of the summer gives bacteria the chance to thrive and multiply more rapidly, so there’s usually a spike in reports of foodborne illnesses.
I will admit. We are terrible about using a food thermometer. But, after reading all of the information I collected to put together this post, I can promise that is going to change!
Seeing isn’t believing. In the past, I figured if the hamburger is brown in the middle, that means it’s done. But truth be told, just looking at the color and texture of the food isn’t enough. The only way to be really, really sure is to use a food thermometer. In fact, according to USDA research, 1 out of every 4 hamburgers turns brown before it’s safe to consume. A hamburger needs to be cooked to at least 160* F in order to be safe and delicious. Please take a moment to check out this Safe Cooking Temperature Chart and the “Is it Done Yet” brochure by the FoodSafety.gov website. Also be sure to check out the USDA’s tips for Safe Grilling.
Also be sure to visit the FoodSafety.gov website to learn all about food safety, and definitely check out “Ask Karen,” which is an online database with nearly 1,500 answers to specific questions about preventing foodborne illnesses. You can also call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline.
Before you start celebrating this summer, be sure to take a moment and watch the following videos:
Recipes for Disaster: BBQ
Summer Food Safety Tips from Martie Duncan of Food Network Star
Also, be sure to join the #FoodSafe4th twitter party. It will be held June 30th at 1pm EST. Just follow and tweet with the #FoodSafe4th hashtag, and be sure to follow the hosts: @martieparty, @buzzmommy, and @usdafoodsafety.