In Smyrna-Vinings, we love our barbecue. So it's a given that plenty of people will grill out this weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.
However, as the Fourth of July approaches, cases of foodborne illnesses are surging in the summer season because bacteria multiply faster when it's warm.
To avoid foodborne illness at your summer cookout, just remember these four simple steps: clean, separate, cook and chill. It’s as simple as that.
- Clean: Clean kitchen surfaces, utensils, and hands with soap and water while preparing food.
- Separate: Separate raw meats from other foods by using different cutting boards.
- Cook: Cook foods to the right temperature by using a food thermometer.
- Chill: Chill raw and prepared foods promptly.
At least 1 in 6 Americans, or an estimated 48 million total, will get sick from foodborne illnesses this year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Americans spend $400 million on beef alone during the week of the Fourth of July, more than any other time of the year, according to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
USDA research shows that 1 out of every 4 hamburgers turns brown before it has reached a safe internal temperature, but new FDA research shows that 77 percent of people who have a food thermometer don't use it when grilling hamburgers.
Following these four steps above can help prevent illness at your Independence Day barbecue and could even save a life.
For more tips, go to FoodSafety.gov and check out our ‘Ask Karen’ app, available in English (m.AskKaren.gov) and Spanish (m.PregunteleaKaren.gov), to get access to more than 1,300 answers to food safety questions.
“Ask Karen” and the Spanish-language “Pregúntele a Karen” will be answering food safety questions from the Twitter handles @USDAFoodSafety and @USDAFoodSafe_es on June 28 at 1 p.m. ET. Please join our chat if you have questions in advance of your Fourth of July party.