|Script: Celebrate a Safe
Cinco de Mayo
Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety
at home podcast series. These podcasts were designed with
you in mind - the consumer - who purchases and prepares meat, poultry
and processed meat, egg products for your family and friends.
Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging
from safe storage, handling, and preparation of meat, poultry and
processed egg products to the importance of keeping foods safe during
a power outage.
So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Welcome to “Food Safety at Home.” This is Maribel Alonso with
the Food Safety and Inspection Service. I’m your host for this
Today we are visiting Karen Muñoz and her family to learn how
she safely prepares food for the “Cinco de Mayo” celebration.
Hello Karen, thank you for inviting us to your celebration.
Any time Maribel, “Mi casa es su casa.”
Karen, could you tell us what event is being celebrated today by
many Spanish speaking families?
Today, “Cinco de Mayo,” is a commemoration of the victory of the
Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla, Mexico in
1862. Many people living in United States believe this day is
Mexico’s Independence Day, but Mexico celebrate Independence Day
on September 16th. Still, Cinco de Mayo is an important day in
the history of Mexico, celebrated with food, family, and fun.
What are some of the common foods people prepare during this
Families prepare many different dishes; foods frequently served
during this fiesta include: guacamole, chilaquiles, enchiladas,
mole poblano, plantain chips, menudo, meat tacos and burritos,
flan, albondigas (which are meatballs), chicken with salsa, and
Mmmm, that sounds delicioso! What are you preparing for your
I’m preparing fresh guacamole, chips and salsa, albondigas, beef
tamales, chicken enchiladas, and some flan.
All of it sounds good! And I noticed that everything is cooked
while dancing to the music.
Can you tell us what steps you follow to ensure the meal is
Well Maribel I follow four simple steps: Clean, Separate, Cook,
and Chill. First, I make sure countertops, tables, utensils and
all serving trays are clean. And, I wash my hands with warm
water and soap for at least 20 seconds before handling and
preparing any food.
Yes, because everything counts when it comes to taking care of
your family, right Karen?
You’re absolutely right. Then, I use different cutting boards to
separate raw meats from foods that don’t need to be cooked. Like
you can see here, I use the red one to cut-up the raw beef or
chicken that I’ll use for the albondigas, burritos, and
enchiladas. And the blue cutting board is for foods that aren’t
going to be cooked, such as lettuce and tomatoes, and the
avocados I’ll use to make guacamole. Also, I store raw foods
away from cooked foods in the refrigerator to prevent any
That is a great way to start preparing a delicious and safe
meal. I can’t wait to try some of those albondigas!
They look great, but we need to make sure they are safe to eat.
Let me get my food thermometer and check the temperature. When
ground beef reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, it is safe to eat.
Oh, that smells good!
My thermometer says the internal temperature has reached 160
degrees Fahrenheit; the meat is now safe to eat!
Now, I’ll clean my food thermometer with hot soapy water and
check my chicken for the enchiladas. All poultry must reach 165
degrees Fahrenheit to be safe.
Yep. They are safely cooked!
Karen, how did you learn about the food thermometer?
I was helping Diego with his homework and searching through the
Internet, when I found the Web site for USDA’s Food Safety and
Inspection Service. I learned that when food is handled with
caution and cooked to a safe internal temperature; you kill
harmful bacteria that could cause foodborne illness. After I
recognized how important it is to follow food safety at home, I
bought a food thermometer and started using it right away. Now,
even my husband uses it when grilling.
Wow! It looks like everybody is having fun and enjoying the
Yes, everybody enjoys the traditional food and music of the
Cinco de Mayo fiesta.
Karen, what other tips do you have to ensure the food stays safe
during the party?
Well Maribel, sometimes we get distracted with parades, mariachi
music, and folk dancing, and leave the food out for too long.
It’s important to remember to refrigerate food, including the
guacamole, within two hours after serving. And since it is warm
outside -it feels like it is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit- we
should refrigerate food within one hour. Bacteria can grow
rapidly in food that stays at room temperature for too long. And
I keep my refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
Well, I think this celebration will last longer than two
hours….. what can we do to keep food safe?
I always keep cold foods cold by placing them in containers on
ice. And use chafing dishes, preheated steam tables, warming
trays, and slow cookers.
Thank you Karen for sharing these useful food safety tips and
for inviting us to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with you and your
You are welcomed Maribel. To find out more information on how to
safely handle, prepare, and store food, visit FSIS’ Web site at
www.fsis.usda.gov. Or visit online for assistance from our
virtual representative “Ask Karen” at
Consumers may also call our toll-free USDA Meat & Poultry
Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. That’s 1-888-674-6854.
That’s it for this week. We talked about preparing food safely
for the Cinco de Mayo celebration. Now, we’ll continue enjoying
the food and music. I’m Maribel Alonso and I’d like to thank you
for joining us for this episode of “Food Safety at Home.” And
remember, “Be Food Safe.”
Well, that's all for this time. Thanks for joining us today
for another episode of food safety at home!
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free
Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. That's 1-888-674-6854.
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our
virtual representative "Ask Karen" at
Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your comments
Thanks for tuning in.
April 21, 2010