A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Food and fireworks safety reminders for a safe holiday weekend and happy Independence Day

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Nobody wants to spend their holiday not feeling well, and with the summer temperatures comes a reminder to use best practices when it comes to food safety during the long Independence Day weekend.

The Kentucky Soybean Board and Association says many picnic or cookout dishes contain mayonnaise or salad dressing, so keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold is an important rule to follow. Did you know that most of your favorite slaw, potato salad, pasta salad, and even salad dressings are made with soybean oil? A commonly labeled vegetable oil in the grocery store, soybean oil is a key ingredient in the smooth, creamy dressings and sauces we all enjoy.

Photo courtesy of the Kentucky Soybean Board

Keeping cold foods at or below 40 degrees is key. Place foods like chicken salad and chilled desserts directly on ice or in a shallow container set deep in a pan filled with ice, draining off water and replacing ice frequently.

The meat on your grill is often the star of the show, and it‘s important to keep raw food separate from cooked food. Keep meat, poultry and seafood refrigerated until ready to grill. When transporting, keep meat at 40° or below in an insulated cooler. Don’t use a plate that held raw meat, poultry or seafood for cooked food until it’s been washed in hot, soapy water.

Let meat marinate in the refrigerator, not on the counter.  While marinades are a great way to impart flavor and tenderness, raw meat sitting out on the counter invites bacteria.  Also, if you use marinade to baste meat or as a finishing sauce, keep a portion in reserve, rather than using marinade that has been in contact with raw meat.
Cook food thoroughly to kill any bacteria that might be present. Use a food thermometer, because you can’t see “done.” 

The temperature should reach:

–160°F for ground meats, such as beef and pork.
–165°F for all poultry, including ground chicken and turkey.
–145°F for fin fish or cook until flesh is opaque.

Another important topic is fireworks safety.

With the current lack of rainfall that is plaguing so many parts of Kentucky, especially after wheat harvest, the threat of field fires is all too real. Many states have restricted the sale of backyard fireworks, and some cities have canceled their professional fireworks shows. If you do opt for fireworks at home, be sure to have a hose hooked up and ready in case a spark gets out of hand.

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