UACES Facebook Torrie’s Top Tips for a Safe and Happy Fourth of July
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Five tips to keep you and your loved ones safe and happy this Independence Day!

Independence day is a time to celebrate America, freedom, and to spend time with family. It can also be a time for dangers to be lurking in the mist of all the fun. From food to fireworks, there are many things to be cautious about this Fourth.

Keep cold foods cold! One of my favorite things to eat on Independence Day is my mom’s crab potato salad. I am sure there are things similar to potato salad that you enjoy having at your outdoor barbeque as well. But the best way to be food safe this Holiday is by keeping foods that should be cold, like potato salad, cold. Cold foods should be kept at 39°F or below. Anything above this would put the food in the temperature danger zone, 40°F - 140°F, which is a breeding ground for bacteria. 

Keep hot foods hot! Foods that should be hot, like hamburgers and hot dogs, should be kept at a temperature above 140°F, otherwise they are in the temperature danger zone that bacteria thrive best in. Keep your family safe this Fourth by keeping foods that need to be hot, hot.

Little girl enjoying a slice of watermelon
Wash your fruit!
My favorite summer time treat is watermelon. It’s juicy, sweet, and so refreshing in these hot Arkansas summers. Most people wouldn’t think that watermelons should be cleaned before cutting, but even watermelons and other melons need to be washed with water before cutting. Think about it: Where do watermelons grow? On top of dirt. How are watermelons handled? By someone’s hands, that may or may not be cleaned. How are watermelons prepared? Watermelons are cut with a knife that touches the outside rind, that has been touching dirt and has been handled by someone with unclean hands, and touches the inside pink flesh you like to eat. If you don’t wash off your fruit, it will become contaminated with all the different things it has come in contact with.

Colorful fireworks
Be careful with fireworks!
Fireworks are a Fourth of July staple. We all like to ooh and ahh over fireworks and some of us enjoy shooting off the fireworks ourselves. It may seem like common sense but be cautious when shooting off fireworks. Don’t let young children handle fireworks. Observe older children carefully when they are handling fireworks. Sparklers alone make up 25% of firework injuries every year. Always keep water on hand to put out fireworks that may not have gone off completely. For more firework safety tips, visit the National Safety Councils Firework Safety article.

Don’t forget those that gave us our freedom! Freedom doesn’t come free and there are countless individuals that sacrifice every day that make sure we are safe and free. Thank you to all veterans, military, police, fire fighters, first responders, and their families for the work you do for our country. We can never thank you enough.

For more outdoor food safety information, visit the US Food & Drug Administration’s webpage.

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