Harrisburg, PA – As Pennsylvanians travel and enjoy outdoor cookouts and picnics this Fourth of July and throughout the summer, the Wolf Administration wants to make sure food safety is observed to keep families healthy.
“It is important to wash your hands properly before handling food to protect yourself from dangerous foodborne illnesses,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “It is also essential that foods are cooked and stored at the appropriate temperatures. We want everyone to be able to celebrate special occasions in a healthy manner.”
One in six Americans gets a foodborne illness or food poisoning through contaminated foods or beverages. The Department of Health recommends the following tips to prevent foodborne illnesses:
- Use a food thermometer to make sure food is thoroughly cooked to kill dangerous bacteria, particularly when grilling raw meat;
- Never cross-contaminate one food with another. Always keep foods separated, especially raw and cooked meats;
- Always refrigerate leftover food if it won’t be eaten within two hours;
- If the temperature is above 90 degrees, food should not sit out for more than one hour;
- Thoroughly clean fruits and vegetables by rinsing them under running water to remove all visible dirt;
- Remove and throw away the outermost leaves of lettuce or cabbage;
- Always wash your hands with soap and warm water before preparing or handling food;
- Do not thaw foods at room temperature (such as on the counter) because bacteria can multiply at these temperatures. Instead, thaw foods in the refrigerator or in the microwave immediately before cooking;
- Never prepare or touch food for others if you are sick;
- Never change a baby’s diaper while preparing food; and
- Report any suspected foodborne disease outbreaks immediately to a healthcare provider.
Common symptoms of foodborne illnesses are diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, and vomiting.
Older adults, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women have a greater risk of developing foodborne illnesses. These groups should avoid eating raw or undercooked meat, raw seafood, unpasteurized milk and dairy products, and raw or undercooked eggs.
Additional information on foodborne diseases can be found on the Department of Health’s website at health.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
MEDIA CONTACT: Nate Wardle, 717-787-1783 or RA-DHPressOffice@pa.gov
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