Westchester Health Department Offers Memorial Day Safety Tips

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons User Elena Chochkova

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – It’s almost summer and that means Memorial Day weekend fun to kickoff warm weather, cookouts and summertime vacations.

As you prepare for good times and outdoor celebrations this weekend and the entire summer season, remember these helpful food and outdoor safety hints The Westchester County Health Department and Westchester County Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler have to offer:

  • Spray insect repellent containing DEET on your clothes and exposed skin to avoid mosquito bites, following package directions
  • Empty out standing water from all outdoor containers to prevent mosquito breeding
  • Avoid attracting animals by properly collecting and disposing of food and litter
  • Thaw meat and poultry slowly in the refrigerator or under cold running water before cooking
  • Keep meat and poultry cold under you are ready to grill. Harmful bacteria usually grow in the "danger zone" between 40° and 140° F
  • Transport food inside a cooler filled with ice. Keep drinks in a separate cooler away from food. Keep all coolers out of direct sunlight
  • Cook your food to the right temperature – 160 degrees for ground beef and pork and 165 degrees for chicken and hot dogs. Always use a food thermometer to check food temperatures while cooking
  • Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Discard any food left out for more than two hours after cooking, or one hour if it more than 90°F outside
  • Don’t cross-contaminate: don’t reuse marinades on cooked food unless you boil them first and don’t use the same plate, cutting board and utensils for cooked food that you used for raw meat
  • Wash hands, surfaces and utensils frequently with soap and water or antiseptic wipes
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