Food safety: Feasting on Fourth of July food

MADISON, Ala. -  The Fourth of July brings out families, fun, and fireworks. But perhaps the biggest deal is the Fourth of July feast. The Madison County Health Department said you want to make sure everything's safe for consumption.

"When you buy all that stuff at the grocery store and bring it home make sure your refrigerator is cold enough," explained Cheryl Clay of the Madison County Health Department. "When we're preparing food to cook it, make sure we don't leave it out of refrigeration for an extended period of time until we actually cook the food."

Tim Thornton owns a barbecue truck, he said he makes sure his meats stay cool.

"When we cook food, we vacuum pack it, flash freeze it and it goes into a freezer until its ready to warm up," said Thornton.

He said each order is heated fresh for patrons.

"When you get food, you want it to be hot. If your food is lukewarm, you don't know how long it's been sitting there at that temperature. You don't want it," Thornton added.

Even as you finish grilling at home, health officials say to be mindful how long things are sitting out.

"We recommend anything that's not eaten within four hours to go ahead and discard," said Clay.

"The food that's leftover. That's been warmed up? That's our food. That's my supper for the next few days. We don't reserve food that's been warmed up, no," explained Thornton.

The health department said food handlers are responsible for good service but also promoting a clean and healthy good to the public.

To ensure that your food is safe to consume, the health department recommends checking temperatures on the grill.

All hot foods should be at least 140 degrees and all cold items should be 40 degrees or below.

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