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DuPage Health Department provides tips on safe eating at summer fairs and festivals

Thu June 30, 2016

The DuPage County Health Department is working to ensure residents that eating at the various outdoor festivals can be done safely with proper preparation and food handling allowing people to enjoy the many different types of food available.

Unfortunately, foodborne illnesses tend to increase during the summer months as cooking and food preparation moves outdoors and with the increase in fairs and festivals. The effects of foodborne illness can be devastating. The DuPage County Health Department is committed to reducing the instances of foodborne illness by eliminating the factors that cause these illnesses. 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.

The DuPage County Health Department issues temporary food permits to vendors at 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, the department encourages residents to be aware of the food safety tips below before consuming food from an outdoor vendor. Anyone who believes that they have become sick from eating at a location should contact the Health Department.

Here are some tips before eating food at a festival:

·         Does the vendor have a clean and tidy workstation?

·         Does the vendor have a hand washing station 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 permit, visible to the public, 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 public 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.

For more information on the DuPage County Health Department, visit our website at,  follow us on Twitter @DuPageHD or become a fan on Facebook.