WASHINGTON (FNS) -- With the United States entering hamburger season, the Agriculture Department has launched a campaign to teach parents of the need to be vigilant about cooking meat properly.
Sending a message on 2 million postcards to be distributed at schools, USDA Secretary Mike Espy offers a reminder to parents on how to properly cook, handle and refrigerate meat.
The notice is part of the agency's campaign to educate consumers about bacteria that can be present in undercooked meat or can spread in meat that's not properly refrigerated.
"Like millions of Americans, I love a great hamburger," Espy writes to parents. "Hamburger and other meat products could contain bacteria that is harmful if not cooked or handled properly."
In his note, Espy urges parents to follow simple food safety rules to protect the health of their families.
Additionally, as part of a USDA initiative to eliminate food-borne illness stemming from fresh meats, retailers are required to apply safe-handling labels to the meats they sell. The requirement took effect last Friday for ground meats, and labels will be required on all whole products by July 6.