Health Department

Food & Drug Information

Food & Drug Recalls

Please click here for a complete list of food products which have been recalled, withdrawn or alerts posted by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Information

FOOD SAFETY AT HOME

It is the season for barbecues, weddings, family gatherings and fun! Unless food is handled safely, you may become sick from a foodborne illness, and that is NOT fun. Every year, thousands of people become ill from food that they eat, prepared by themselves, a family member, or a friend. Certain people are more vulnerable to foodborne illnesses. Pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and those who are immune compromised by chronic disease treatments and health conditions, are the most at risk for serious illness. By following a few safe food handling steps, you can greatly reduce your risk of becoming ill from the food prepared at home. 

Depending upon the specific foodborne illness, you may experience symptoms within one hour, or within a week or more. Usually, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, are experienced, but the specific microorganism will cause some or all, or other symptoms. A laboratory test taken by your physician will give more clues. Please see your doctor and drink water to hydrate, if you experience these symptoms, and call the health department when possible.

HANDWASHING:

Approximately 60% of all foodborne illnesses are caused by people handling food without properly washing their hands. Make certain that you or anyone involved in preparing food, thoroughly washes their hands with soap and warm water prior to beginning, and in between handling different foods. Common sense also tells us to wash our hands after using the bathroom. 

CROSS CONTAMINATION:

Many foods have naturally occurring bacteria on them. Cross contamination occurs when bacteria from one food are transferred to another. For example, cross contamination can occur when bacteria from raw chicken juice are transferred from a cutting board after cutting chicken, to lettuce placed on the same cutting board. With some foodborne illnesses, it only takes a drop of chicken juice on an uncooked food item to transfer enough bacteria to cause illness. Use separate cutting boards and preparation/ cooking utensils  for each food you prepare, or thoroughly wash and rinse utensils and surfaces used to cut raw items before preparing another food item. This is also true of service utensils. Once food is cooked, use a separate cooking utensil to serve each food. 

TEMPERATURE:

COOKING TEMPERATURES: Cooking food to the proper temperature is a very important food safety step because it kills most of the harmful bacteria on that food item. Temperatures should be verified with a stem thermometer. An inexpensive one can be purchased at any grocery store.

Use separate thermometers, or thoroughly wash and rinse the thermometer in between testing foods. These are cooking temperatures for various foods:

Hamburger: 155 degrees F
Chicken:      165 degrees F
Pork:            145 degrees F

COLD HOLDING TEMPERATURES: 

Bacteria grow very slowly at temperatures of 41 degrees F and below, so make certain you keep meat in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it. This is especially true on very hot days, or if you are barbequing. It is a good idea to have a thermometer in your refrigerator to make certain of the temperature. 

HOT HOLDING: Foods served hot must be kept at a minimum of 135 degrees F and should not be kept out for more than 2 hours even at this temperature. Temperatures should be checked with a stem thermometer which is washed between uses as mentioned above.

THAWING: Frozen foods should be thawed in the refrigerator, not on the counter. This is due to the fact that the food will gradually get warm enough, and will be out long enough to allow bacteria to grow. 

For More Information on food handling, recalls, etc., please see:

www.foodsafety.gov

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/basics-for-handling-food-safely/ct_index

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