Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Provides Tips for Floridians on Memorial Day
Tallahassee, FL – Do you have plans to celebrate this Memorial Day weekend? Planning a cookout or barbeque with friends and family? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in six Americans is affected by a foodborne illness each year and many of these illnesses can be prevented. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offers the following tips consumers can take to safely prepare food this Memorial Day weekend and avoid illness.
To safely prepare food:
1) Wash hands, surfaces and utensils often during food preparation.
2) Keep raw foods away from cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination.
3) Cook food to the proper temperature. Use a meat thermometer to make sure that the meat is sufficiently cooked. Beef, lamb and pork should register an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit, while poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
4) Keep cold foods below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and hot foods above 140 degrees Fahrenheit. For buffets, it is best to put out smaller servings and replenish the food from cold or hot sources more often.
5) Do not leave food out for more than two hours.
If using a grill to prepare food:
1) Never leave a grill unattended when in use.
2) Always read and follow the grill manufacturer's instructions and keep written materials and manuals in a safe, accessible place.
3) Before using propane gas, check all connections for tightness using a leak-detection solution.
4) When not in use, make sure all grill burner controls are turned off and the cylinder valve is closed.
5) Make sure the grill is shut off and cool to the touch before covering it after use.
6) Use and store cylinders outdoors in an upright, vertical position. Never store cylinders indoors, especially in a garage where temperatures can be high and ignition sources may be present.
7) When filling or exchanging a cylinder, have the supplier check for dents, damage, rust or leaks. Do not use, store or transport a cylinder where it would be exposed to high temperatures. (This includes storing spare cylinders under or near the grill.)
8) If experiencing difficulties in the operation of a gas grill, contact a local propane provider for service.
9) Do not smoke while handling the propane cylinder.
10) Do not allow children to tamper or play with the cylinder or grill.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is responsible for assuring the public of a safe, wholesome and properly represented food supply through permitting and inspection of food establishments, inspection of food products, and performance of specialized laboratory analysis on a variety of food products sold or produced in the State. The department monitors food from farm gate through processing and distribution to the retail point of purchase.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.