Reduce chances for Fourth of July food illnesses

Health organizations are reminding Fourth of July holiday cookout celebrants of the danger of improperly prepared and stored foods which can turn a fun time into sickness and even trips to the emergency room.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the national Food and Drug Administration (FDA) all provide cautionary warnings in regard to various aspects of food safety.

The CDC advises of four steps to food safety when grilling, including making sure to cook everything to a safe internal temperature, keeping raw meat separate from that which is cooked and ready-to-eat, use clean utensils and a clean plate to remove cooked meat from a grill, and throw out marinades and sauces which have touched raw meat juices.

The agency provides additional food preparation safety tips and information at https://tinyurl.com/Food-Safety-CDC.

The USDA provides a consumer answers service at (833) 663-8732 or askusda@usda.gov. Live chat also is available at ask.usa.gov from 10AM to 6PM Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

CDC typically coordinates between 17 and 36 investigations of foodborne illnesses involving multiple states each week, with those for salmonella from cucumbers and E. coli from organic walnuts currently underway.

Further information about current outbreaks is available at https://tinyurl.com/CDC-Outbreaks.

The FDA also publishes an updating list of current food recalls for various reasons for both humans and pets at https://tinyurl.com/FDA-Recalls-List, with the USDA publishing a second for farm-related products at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls. Multiple listings are added each week.

Be Aware. Be Prepared. Stay Safe.TM and be aware of food safety issues, many of which can disproportionately affect children, older adults and those with specific health issues and some of which can result in hospitalization and even death.