Declare Independence from Foodborne Illness this Fourth of July - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Declare Independence from Foodborne Illness this Fourth of July

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WASHINGTON, D.C. —When celebrating our nation's independence this Fourth of July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) reminds Americans that proper food handling practices can prevent their "Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness" from being threatened by foodborne illness.

The warm temperatures that draw crowds of people to outdoor celebrations also encourage the growth of bacteria, and incidents of food-related illnesses rise in summer months.

But four simple steps—Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill—can help families declare freedom from foodborne illness at Independence Day celebrations.

"We want to provide families with important information that will help reduce the risk of foodborne illness during their Fourth of July celebrations," USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen said.  "Small children and the elderly are among the most vulnerable to foodborne illness, and this information is essential in protecting loved ones at family barbecues and picnics." 

In time for the Fourth of July holiday, FSIS has created a new infographic in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Ad Council featuring food safety tips from the Founding Fathers.

The infographic, fact sheets, videos and podcasts about safe food handling and preparation in warmer months can be found on FSIS' "Grill It Safe" webpage at

Additionally, representatives from FSIS' Meat and Poultry Hotline will answer consumer questions in English and Spanish from the Twitter handles @USDAFoodSafety and @USDAFoodSafe_es on June 28 at 1 p.m. ET.