Food is a Big Part of July 4 Celebrations, Here Are Some Safety Tips to Avoid Sickness in Hot Weather

Published on Jul 3, 2023

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) offers essential food safety tips to help residents avoid foodborne illness and stay healthy and safe as they celebrate Fourth of July festivities. Foodborne illness is associated with three main problems: improper handling of food with contaminated hands; failure to cook foods such as meat and chicken thoroughly; and failure to keep foods at the appropriate temperature.

“Independence Day is associated with food, friends, family, and fireworks,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “It’s also a time to keep loved ones safe from foodborne illness at barbecues, picnics and holiday festivities by practicing safe food handling and storage.”

Food Safety Tips:

• Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the restroom.
• Wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating or cutting into them.
• Separate raw meats and poultry from other foods such as fruits and vegetables and always use separate cutting boards, knives, and platters for these foods to avoid cross contamination.
• Wash cutting boards, utensils, and platters after preparing each food item and before going on to the next item and avoid using the same plate or utensils for raw and cooked meats.
• Use a food thermometer to make sure meat and poultry are cooked thoroughly to their safe minimum internal temperatures: Burgers and sausage to 160°F; chicken and turkey to 165°F; and steaks to 145°F.
• Keep cold foods cold (40°F or below) and keep hot foods hot (135°F or above). Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.
• Avoid “taste testing” food or drinks to see if they have spoiled.

Symptoms of foodborne illness include stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, and can start hours or days after consuming contaminated food or drink. Symptoms usually go away after a few hours or days without treatment, although foodborne illness can be severe and even life-threatening in older adults, infants and young children, pregnant women, and those with conditions that weaken their immune systems.

For more information on food safety tips, visit

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