AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Labor Day weekend means one last summer hoorah. So, if you are planning outdoor activities with friends and family, take a few precautions to ensure the holiday weekend ends with nothing but fond memories.
The much needed rain Amarillo has recently received has created a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and the City of Amarillo's Environmental Health and Public Health departments reminds everyone to take part in Mission Mosquito and follow the four "Ds":
* Drain all standing water
* Dress in long sleeves and pants
* DEET: wear insect repellant with DEET
* Daily: all day every day
"In addition to protecting ourselves from mosquitoes, we need to ensure the food we eat is cooked and stored properly," says Environmental Health Director Shaun May. "You don't want a food-borne illness to ruin that last cookout of summer."
May offers the following tips to help keep your food safe:
* Start with clean hands, a clean grill and clean utensils.
* Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm, soapy water. Handwashing is the most important thing a person can do to prevent illness.
* Keep food refrigerated until ready for use.
* Avoid the "Danger Zone." Bacteria can grow rapidly between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
* Do not leave food unrefrigerated for more than two hours (one hour if the air temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep leftovers in a refrigerator or cooler with ice or ice packs to keep food cold.
* Avoid cross-contamination. Cross-contamination can occur when a cutting board or plate that held raw food comes into contact with foods that are ready to eat. For example, do not cut vegetables for your salad on the same surface that was used to cut or season meat.
* Always marinate foods in a refrigerator using a glass or plastic food-safe container.
* Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the meat you are cooking to ensure it is cooked thoroughly. Undercooked meat can be dangerous because it has not reached a high enough temperature to kill any bacteria that may be present.
* As a general rule for cookouts, cook all meats to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
* Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
* Never leave your grill unattended.