Don’t let contaminated food ruin your Independence Day celebration!  Arizona Dairy Council’s Registered Dietitian Tammy Baker offers food safety tips for your Fourth of July picnics.  Starting the meal off right begins before the party.  Thaw any meats and poultry inside the refrigerator so that they stay under 40

degrees.  This will stave off any food borne bacteria. The Arizona sun can be brutal on your picnic table and July 4th parties can last for hours, but your food can’t.  Baker says you really don’t want to leave any perishable food out for more than two hours and one hour if you have it outside when it’s over 90 degrees which is most of the time in the summer.  She says, “with Arizona heat, one of the things you really want to be careful of is making sure that you keep food at the proper temperature and that means keeping cold food cold at 40 degrees and hot food hot.”  Dairy products such as potato salad should be kept on ice in coolers for the duration of the celebration.    

Make sure to keep all surfaces clean, raw food separate and always, always wash your hands when handling food.

Kris Dugan