The Wolf Administration urged Pennsylvanians to take food safety precautions as they plan celebrations during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday and the summer season.
“With Memorial Day approaching and the summer event season kicking off, we must remember grilling and picnic food safety measures,” Department of Health Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “As the weather gets warmer, foodborne germs are more abundant, yielding food poisoning. It is important to keep perishable foods refrigerated and properly handle raw meats.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tips to keep food safe for the upcoming summer season. If you are preparing food in advance for Memorial Day, divide cooked foods into shallow containers and store them in the refrigerator or freezer to rapidly cool. After cooking or grilling raw meats, throw away marinades and sauces that have touched raw meat juices. Use a clean plate and utensils to remove cooked meats from the grill.
Refrigerating your food promptly will help prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying and making you sick. Always keep your refrigerator below 40 degrees and chill perishable foods within two hours. If the outdoor temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, refrigerate food within one hour. The safest way to thaw frozen food is in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Never thaw foods on the counter, because bacteria can grow quickly in foods that are left at room temperature.
If you are going to community events or festivals, bring hand sanitizer and disposable wipes to clean your hands. Be sure to only order food from vendors that have licenses to sell food, are wearing gloves and using appropriate utensils when serving food.
“Preparing, storing and serving food safely can keep a celebration from turning into an emergency,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “As we gather around the table together again, enjoy the bounty of food Pennsylvania has to offer, and eat safely.”
Learn more about food safety in Pennsylvania restaurants, grocers and on the farm at agriculture.pa.gov or download the EatSafePA app from your Apple or android app store.
If you have a food-related illness, your doctor or the laboratory that did the testing will report it to the department. You can also call 1-877-PA-HEALTH to speak with a public health nurse.
Additional information on foodborne diseases can be found on the Department of Health’s website at www.health.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.