“There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency,” claimed the official government tip sheet on surviving disasters.
This weekend, Memorial Day will launch a summer of cookouts, picnics and barbecues. Today, the USDA issued a baseball score card on how to safely “round-the-bases” so food poisoning and a trip to the emergency room won’t be the end result of your partying.
“We want Americans to know that simple food safety steps can make cookouts and picnics worry-free for hosts,” said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen.
The pathogens that cause food poisoning are lurking at every picnic site and here’s a link to USDA’s detailed suggestions for staying safe. These are the highlights:
First base: Be Clean. First things first—make sure you start with clean surfaces and clean hands.
Second base: Separate. Raw meats and poultry should be prepared separately from vegetables and cooked foods. As you chop meats and veggies, be sure to use separate cutting boards.
Third base: Cook. Never begin grilling without your most important tool—a food thermometer. Color is not a reliable indicator of doneness.
Home Plate: Chill Out: Keeping food at a safe temperature is a must at outdoor picnics and cookouts – keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.