VA Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reminds residents to practice proper food safety when celebrating Independence Day

Local News

(WFXR) – As many Virginians are likely to be enjoying a picnic or barbecue to celebrate America’s birthday this weekend, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) is urging everyone to practice food safety and protect family and friends from foodborne illnesses.

“I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable time celebrating our nation’s independence. Whether you are hosting a picnic, barbecue, family outing or on the beach, please practice social distancing and food safety. Eating outside in warm weather presents a variety of food safety challenges, so take a fe extra precautions to protect your family and friends from foodborne ilness.”

Jewel Bronaugh, VDACS Commissioner

The VDACS is encouraging residents to follow these basic steps to keep food safe from harmful bacteria and help to make outdoor cooking a more enjoyable experience:

  • Clean – Wash hands, utensils and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after food preparation, and especially after preparing meat, poultry, eggs or seafood. Thoroughly wash fresh fruits and vegetables if they are to be consumed raw.
  • Separate – Keep raw meat, poultry, eggs and seafood and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods. Never place cooked food on an unwanted plat that previously held raw meat, poultry, eggs or seafood.
  • Cook – Cook food to the proper internal temperature and check to see if it is done thoroughly with a food thermometer. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 °F and until the interior is brown and poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 °F. Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm.
  • Chill – Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within two hours and make sure the refrigerator is set at 40 °F or lower and the freezer is set at 0 °F. When using a cooler to store your food, make sure that it is packed with several inches of ice, ice packs or containers of frozen water.

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