Weekend Update: Healthy Eating at Fairs and Festivals

Jul 15, 2011, 6:28 PM, Posted by NewPublicHealth

Food-borne illnesses often increase in the summer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, especially whencooking and eating are done outside, away from the safety controls of a kitchen such as thermostat-controlled cooking, refrigeration, and, sometimes, soap and water.

Foods at fairs and festivals can often pose a risk of illness, in part because vendors and workers may have no experience in safe food handling. Some tips from the CDC let you have your funnel cake and eat it, too:

  • Look for vendors with clean workstations and sinks for employees to wash their hands
  • Check to see that employees wear gloves or use tongs when handling food
  • If raw or pre-cooked foods are used, is there refrigeration on site?
  • Look for an inspection certificate. Requirements vary by state, but in general temporary and mobile vendors, like those at fairs and carnivals, should have a license to sell food and beverages in a particular state or county

Especially at fairs where you’ve petted animals, hand washing is crucial. Check these hand-washing tutorials for kids and adults before heading out to the fun.

Weigh In: Have you ever gotten sick from something you ate at a fair, festival or carnival?

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.