While there is currently no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is spread by handling or eating food1, the CDC still encourages people to limit close contact with those living outside their immediate homes, washing their hands frequently, wearing masks in public and avoid sharing utensils during events and gatherings.2
COVID spread isn’t the only concern for those celebrating with a Labor Day event; don’t forget about good food safety practices. This is especially true for those who are immunocompromised, including people with autoimmune diseases, those being treated with chemotherapy and other immunosuppressant drugs, young children, pregnant women and older people.3 According to the CDC, 48 million people in the United States get food poisoning each year, and while most recover, 128,000 must be hospitalized and 3,000 die.
For those hosting parties this long weekend, the CDC suggests keeping everyone outside, limiting the number of guests, and following standard COVID-19 precautions. In addition to these guidelines, don’t forget good food safety practices:
- For both COVID-19 and standard food safety, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and make sure to clean beneath your fingernails and in between your fingers.
- Keep hand sanitizer readily available for everyone.
- Frequently clean cooking and food preparation areas, including cooking utensils.
- Follow the cooking guidelines on gov4
- Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate from ready-to-eat foods.5
- Use a food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to the appropriate internal temperature.
- Beef, pork, veal and lamb should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160° F, while turkey and chicken should be cooked to 165°F.
- Store perishable foods at or below 40° F within two hours, but if the surrounding temperature is above 90° F, refrigerate within one hour.
Check the sources below, as well as your local government resources, for further information and recommendations.
1, 3, 5. American Heart Association – Labor Day Information
- CDC – Gatherings During COVID-19
- Foodsafety.gov – Cooking Temperatures