A fun family activity is attending fairs, festivals, carnivals, and rodeos. Follow these tips to have a safe cooking, eating, and drinking experience at those events.
Fairs and festivals are exciting events and there are always fun things to see and experience, including art work, music, games, and rides. One of the biggest draws to these events is the many different types of foods and drinks available.
Sometimes the usual safety controls in a kitchen, like handwashing facilities, refrigeration, thermometers to check food temperatures, and workers trained in food safety, may not be available when cooking and dining at fairs and festivals. This makes it even more important for you to follow food safety tips.
Remember that food safety practices are the same at fairs as they are at restaurants and at home: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. Learn more about these steps, and reduce your chances of getting food poisoning.
What should you consider before buying food from a vendor?
Are there healthy food alternatives to consider at fairs and festivals?
When purchasing food from a vendor, look for healthy options first. If they are not available, consider bringing your own food to save money and calories. Bringing food from home allows you to eat a healthy meal or snack as a family, while still enjoying the festive atmosphere around you. Don’t forget to keep safe food storage practices in mind. Always remember to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.
When bringing food from home, what are proper food handling and storage practices?
If you bring food to a fair or festival from home, be sure to keep food handling and storage times in mind. Don’t let food sit out for more than two hours. On a hot day (90°F or higher), reduce this time to one hour. Be sure to put perishable items in a cooler or insulated bag.
What steps can you take to protect you and your family?
Wash Hands Often:
Anytime you think you may have gotten a foodborne illness, report it to your local health department, even if you have already recovered. The local public health department is an important part of the food safety system. Often, calls from concerned citizens are how outbreaks are first detected. If a public health official contacts you to find out more about an illness you had, talk to him or her. Information from healthy people can be just as important as information from sick people in public health investigations. Investigators may need your help even if you are not sick.
Requirements differ by state, but in general temporary and mobile food vendors should apply for a food license with the fair’s state or county health department. Many community-based organizations set up booths to sell various foods at local festivals and fairs too. There are special exceptions, but it is better to be safe than sorry—get a license!
Fair organizers should try to include a person trained in food safety throughout the planning process, as well as have them present at the fair.
It is important that food safety steps are followed so the food served doesn’t make anyone sick. Try to limit the amount of food preparation preformed off-site, a practice known as cook-serve. Also follow the four basic food safety steps: CLEAN, SEPARATE, COOK, and CHILL.
Now you’re on your way to a safe and healthy summer!