Ahhh, the Fourth of July. This national U.S. holiday is synonymous with freedom, fireworks, family time, celebration, picnics, and grilling out. As you put together your holiday celebrations this summer, Rentokil Steritech would like to offer you a few food safety and pest control tips to keep your celebrations safe and enjoyable. Check out our infographic and share it with your colleagues, friends, and family.
Don’t let pests invade your picnic
There’s a reason that ants have been associated with picnics for decades. Along with other pests, such as flies and stinging pests, ants are attracted to the food that we have at our outdoor celebrations and barbecues.
The longer food sits out, the more chance it has to attract pests. So cover it up between servings to keep pests away. Some pests, such as flies, can transfer pathogens to food and surfaces simply by landing on them. Gross!
Open soda cans and cups or containers holding juices may pose a special danger. Stinging pests, like yellow jackets, can crawl inside unnoticed and sting an unsuspecting victim who happens to take a sip.
Other pests can take a bite out of the fun
Other pests can ruin outdoor fun, as well. Mosquitoes are not only annoying, but they are also a serious public health risk. These pests are able to spread dangerous diseases to humans and our pets. West Nile virus, La Crosse encephalitis virus, and heartworm disease are all spread by mosquitoes.
Ticks are also prevalent in warm weather months. They can be hiding in plain sight in our yards and parks, crawling onto us when we least expect it. Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, and other diseases can be spread by tick bites.
To help protect yourself from these pests, be sure that you and your family members are wearing an EPA-approved insect repellent, and re-apply according to label directions. Additionally, you may want to consider wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to help keep yourself protected, although this may not be comfortable when temperatures are soaring. Be sure to do a head-to-toe tick check on yourself, young children, and pets after extended time outside.
Food safety is paramount
One uninvited guest you definitely do not want at your Fourth of July celebration is foodborne illness, commonly called food poisoning.
To avoid having food cause unnecessary illness, keep these basic food safety tips in mind:
- Wash your hands with soap and hot water before handling food, when switching between food handling tasks (such as handling raw meats and then ready-to-eat foods, such as salads, fruits, and vegetables that aren’t cooked), after using the restroom, or after handling trash.
- Use separate utensils and plates/cutting boards for handling raw foods and cooked and ready-to-eat foods. Raw foods can have dangerous pathogens that can be easily transferred to cooked or ready to eat foods.
- Cook all meats to the proper temperature – use a meat thermometer, never go by color or “feel” to determine doneness.
Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Foods that fall into the Temperature Danger Zone (40°F – 140°F) can rapidly grow bacteria, which can lead to foodborne illness if consumed.
Happy 4th of July!