Fourth of July Food Safety

by Josh Overholser on July 1, 2014 at 7:03 am

With the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, many will be looking forward to chowing down at family picnics.

When doing so, the Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department says you need to remember proper food safety both when cooking and when leaving food sit out.

"Some foods that we see implicated in food borne illnesses are things like hamburger, making sure that it’s cooked properly," said Health Department Sanitarian Adam Dickerson.  "It’s a good idea to have a thermometer to check the temperature.  We’re looking for 165 degrees on hamburgers.  Cold foods that you also see implicated sometimes are pies, like custard pies, and deviled eggs.  You need to make sure they’re held at 41 degrees or below."

Dickerson says hand washing is also very important before handling food.  When preparing food, it is also important to avoid cross-contamination.  You should never use the same chopping board for vegetables and raw meats.  Once finished eating, foods need to be put away to be stored at the proper temperature and not left sitting in the hot sun all afternoon.

"There’s a four hour window, typically," Dickerson said.  "Basically, after four hours of being out at room temperature, that’s when the bacteria starts to grow, and you could get a lot more chance for food borne illness."

If you have more questions about proper food safety, you can visit the Health Department’s website at