5 Tips to Avoid Foodborne Illness as Beef Consumption Spikes over July 4



Are you planning anything special for 4th of July this year? Is there a special barbecue, party or fireworks extravaganza you are attending?

The Fourth of July would not be the same without plenty of yummy food. Personally it’s not the 4th of July without a juicy cheeseburger (or two). 🙂

Did you know U.S. beef sales are highest during the week of July 4 at $400 million? Four hundred million! WOW! That is a lot of hamburgers. There is actually a 25% increase in beef sales for July 4th vs. an average week.

The summer months are ideal for enjoying outdoor activities, including eating outdoors at barbecues and picnics. The summer months also see a spike in foodborne illnesses. Ewww!!! The fourth of July wouldn’t be as fun if you had to deal with a case of food poisoning.

Here are some other interesting (and scary!) facts most people might not be aware of.

  • 1 in 6: Americans get food poisoning each year.
  • 128,000: People are hospitalized for foodborne illnesses annually.

If you plan on entertaining this Fourth of July, or any time this summer, here are some great tips to help protect you and your guests.

5 Basic Tips for Safe Summer Entertaining:

  • How to clean and wash (even if you plan to peel): Clean surfaces, utensils and hands with soap and water. If you are going to a picnic, bring moist towelettes. Wash all produce under plain running water before eating, cutting or cooking.
  • Use separate plates and utensils: When grilling, keep separate plates and utensils for raw meat and cooked meat, as well as ready-to-eat foods such as raw vegetables.
  • Beware of brown burgers: Just because your burger is brown and not pink does not mean it is safe to eat. Always use a food thermometer; this is the safest way to know if your food is cooked to a safe temperature. For example, a burger should be 160 degrees Fahrenheit, chicken cooked to 165 degrees, sausage 160 degrees and steaks to 145 degrees with three minutes resting time.
  • Chill raw food promptly: If after you pick up the meat from the butcher you decide you need to pick up your dry cleaning, you may be at risk. It is advisable to freeze raw food promptly if you are not going to cook it right away.
  • Don’t leave food out for more than two hours: If planning a picnic, perishable food should be kept in an insulated cooler packed with ice or ice packs.

These are great tips. I didn’t know that about brown burgers. We were once at a barbecue where the burger were gray. Ewwww!!! We knew that wasn’t good. Thankfully they had plenty of burgers that were edible and the gray ones were tossed away.

Remember this applies to all perishable foods, not just burgers. Chicken, salads made with mayonnaise, cream based foods and anything that needs to be kept cool you need to be cautious of.

Here is a helpful infographic created by the Food Safe Families campaign – an initiative on behalf of the Ad Council, USDA, FDA and CDC.

The infographic might be hard to read. If you click on the image it will bring up a larger view. If you click on the image again (once you have a larger view) it will make it bigger and much easier to read.

USDA-BBQSafety-30jun-2014 FINAL


Do you have any tips on helping to prevent foodborne illnesses?

Do you have any food related “horror stories” from food that was mishandled?

Feel free to share your thoughts.



*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the benefit of my site readers. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts
About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family and "mini zoo" consisting of five cats, a dog and a Goldfish. Kimberly is a teacher's assistant for a Kindergarten class. When she is not working or blogging, Kimberly enjoys taking photos of nature and hanging out with family and friends.


  1. Natalie Brown says:

    I didn’t know about the brown hamburgers either. Good to know. What stands out to me the most though, is the cream based products. I’ve left out potato salad before for a whole BBQ. I wouldn’t have thought of deviled eggs either. Wow. A sincere thank-you for this important information.

  2. Tammy S says:

    I can’t believe 1 in 6 people will get food poisoning. That’s a scary number. I always worry about the potato salad at picnics. I wonder how long it has been sitting out. Mayo and the sun don’t mix well. These are all great tips. Now I know about the 2 hour mark I will be keeping an eye on things. Thanks!

  3. Robin Wilson says:

    Hard to believe such scary statistics. These are all great tips to be sure and avoid it happens to you or your guests. Wouldn’t that ruin things? I really like the Brown Burger tip, I had no idea. I would have thought it was done if it looked brown. I always have so thank you so much.