Fair food safety

Be aware of safe food practices while visiting fairs and festivals during the summer.

August is fair season which brings a fun time to bond with friends. Many good memories made in the barns, show ring and riding the carnival rides. Another important and traditional part of fair is the food. Michigan State University Extension recommends washing your hands before eating whether it is at home, a fair or a festival. There are precautions that can be taken to help you navigate the challenges of eating safe food at a fair.

It is important to note if there are hand washing stations available and where are they located. Before eating any food, take advantage of hand washing stations not only after using the restroom but after visiting a barn where animals are located. It is important to use warm, running water if at all possible. This removes any bacteria or germs.

Because warm summer months is when most fairs take place, it is important to keep any food brought from home properly cooled. Store food in a clean, insulated cooler with plenty of ice, out of the hot sun. This will help the food stay cooler for longer. Take only the amount of food you think you’ll need, not packing extras.

When eating traditional fair food, to stay safe and avoid foodborne illness, ask yourself these questions before making a purchase from just any vendor.

  • Is the facility clean?
  • Are there hand washing stations available for employees?
  • Do they use gloves when they handle ready to eat foods?
  • Does the vendor appear clean and tidy?

These are just a few things to consider when eating fair food. Remember that foodborne illness can happen to anyone. Washing your hands often, particularly after going through the barns, touching or petting animals can help prevent foodborne illness.

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