By Diane Van, FSIS Meat and Poultry Hotline Manager
Remember when you were a student and your teacher would say, “If you have a question, someone else in the class is wondering the same thing?” Well, after many years of working with the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Meat and Poultry Hotline, I can tell you that nearly every parent, cook, and party-planner—no matter how experienced—has questions about keeping the food that they serve safe for those who will eat it. Not surprisingly, the questions we receive at the Meat and Poultry Hotline are often repeats that we’ve heard many times before.
For this 4th of July weekend, I’m going to try a new approach to answering summer food safety questions. Thursday afternoon at 1:00, I’ll be hosting a real, live “Summer Food Safety Chat” on USDA’s Facebook page and USDA Live. To join the chat, all you have to do is log in to your own Facebook account, go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s page, and ask away.
Sure, I’m expecting the usual suspects: “How long can potato salad stay out before it’s unsafe to eat?” “How long can I leave fried chicken in the refrigerator?” “Do hot dogs need to be hot?”
I’ll gladly answer those, but I’m hoping some of you can come up with a few clever new ones. Watch what others ask, and there’s a good chance you’ll learn something you didn’t know you were even wondering. Ask something you thought should be common knowledge, and someone else will be glad you spoke up.
The chat will begin at 1:00 p.m. ET, on Thursday, July 1—just in time to get you started on your shopping, prepping, and grilling for the July 4 holiday weekend. In the meantime, you can find food safety tips tailored for the summer season on FSIS’ Twitter and YouTube accounts. See you there!