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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Eat, drink and be merry: Remember food safety tips this July 4th

Press Release Date:  Monday, June 26, 2006  
Contact Information:  Christine Atkinson or Pamela Hendren, Food Safety Branch
(502) 564-7181

Frankfort, KY (June 26, 2006) Summer’s first official major holiday, Independence Day, is widely celebrated with cookouts, picnics and other opportunities to enjoy good food in the great outdoors.

      However, nothing spoils a good time faster than a food-borne illness.

     The state Department for Public Health in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services is pleased to again offer some basic food safety tips to help ensure everyone enjoys a safe, healthy Fourth of July holiday.

      The key to avoiding food-borne illness is simple: “Keep hot food hot and cold food cold,” said Christine Atkinson, DPH Food Safety Branch manager.

      In addition, remember these tips to make sure holiday food is properly and safely prepared, cooked, served and stored;

·          Keep hands clean

Wash hands before eating or preparing food, after using the restroom, between handling raw and ready-to-eat items and after handling pets. Use hot soapy water and dry hands with clean paper towels.

·          Clean and sanitize surfaces often

Sanitize food prep and serving surfaces by immersing, spaying or swabbing with a solution of regular household bleach and warm water (mix 1 tablespoon bleach in 2 gallons of water).

·        Separate – don’t cross-contaminate

Keep raw and ready-to-eat foods separated and use separate cutting boards for each or wash, rinse and sanitize after contact with foods – especially meat and seafood. Never put cooked burgers from the grill on the same plate you used for the raw burger patties.

·          Handle fresh melon carefully

Wash all produce thoroughly before use and use special care handling melons, including cantaloupe and watermelon. Thoroughly clean the outer surface before slicing and keep work surface and utensils clean and sanitized. Refrigerate sliced melon promptly at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.

·          Cook food to the proper internal temperature

Ground Beef   160 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds
Poultry and Stuffed Meats 165 degrees F for 15 seconds
Pork Products 150 degrees F for 15 seconds
Other Products 140 degrees F for 15 seconds
Reheating Leftovers 165 degrees F for 15 seconds

Always check the internal temperature of cooked foods with a metal-stemmed thermometer and cook another 15 seconds after the thermometer indicates it has reached the proper temperature.

·      Chill, refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly

Within two hours cool and maintain leftovers at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or colder or freeze at zero degrees or colder.

     Clyde Bolton, director of the DPH Division of Public Health Protection and Safety, added these words of advice: “When in doubt, throw it out. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food-borne illnesses.”


Note to editors: This is one of three releases being issued as part of a joint Fourth of July safety effort by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the State Fire Marshal’s Office. The three-part package addresses drowning prevention, food safety and fireworks safety.


Last Updated 6/26/2006