The DuPage County Health Department is reminding residents that foodborne illnesses tend to increase during the summer months due to more cooking and food preparation being done outdoors at fairs and festivals. It is important to keep in mind some important tips in order to stay safe and healthy while enjoying the food at these outdoor events.
Environmental Health Services (EHS) at the DuPage County Health Department issues temporary food permits to many vendors who attend local fairs and festivals. Part of the permitting process is helping vendors ensure they have adequate resources available for safe food service to consumers. In addition, EHS encourages residents to keep food safety tips to keep in mind before consuming food from an outdoor vendor and also reminds residents to report complaints about possible foodborne illness to the Health Department.
Here are some tips before buying food at a festival:
- Does the vendor have a clean and tidy workstation?
- Does the vendor have a sink for employees to wash their hands?
- Do the employees wear gloves or use tongs when handling food?
- Does the vendor have refrigeration on site for raw ingredients or pre-cooked foods?
- Has the vendor been inspected? Temporary and mobile vendors, like those at fairs and carnivals, should have a license to sell food and beverages. You can check with the DuPage County Health Department to see if the vendors are licensed and if a food inspection has been completed.
Here are some additional steps to take at summer events:
- Find out where hand washing stations are located and wash hands with soap and clean water for 20 seconds.
- Always wash your hands right after petting animals, touching the animal enclosure, and exiting animal areas even if you did not touch an animal.
- Always wash hands after using the restroom, after playing a game or going on a ride, before eating and drinking, before preparing food or drinks, after changing diapers, and after removing soiled clothes or shoes.
- Bring hand sanitizers or disposable wipes in case there aren’t any places to wash your hands.