Jun 19 2017

Food Safety Encouraged as Temperatures Rise

The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health is encouraging residents to practice safe food handling and preparation. Reports of foodborne illnesses typically rise during the summer months, and are often caused by easily preventable mistakes.

“Many foodborne illnesses can be prevented by following a few simple rules,” said Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health.

To safely prepare, handle, and serve food, the Department of Public Health recommends the following four steps:

 Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling pets.
 Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item.
 Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. Sponges and cloths harbor bacteria and can spread them throughout your kitchen.
 Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Scrub firm produce with a clean produce brush. Cutting into unclean produce can transfer contaminants from the rind or peel into the food product.

 Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags, and refrigerator.
 Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Clean and sanitize the cutting board before and after cutting each different type of food.
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 Never place cooked food on a plate that held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs unless the plate has been washed in hot, soapy water.
 Do not reuse marinades used on raw foods unless you bring them to a boil first.
 Color and texture cannot determine safety. Always use a food thermometer for meat,
poultry, seafood, and egg products for all cooking methods. Check packaging for the
minimum internal temperature.
 When cooking in a microwave oven, cover food, stir, and rotate for even cooking. If there
is no turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking. Always allow
standing time, which completes the cooking, before checking the internal temperature
with a food thermometer.
 Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a boil when reheating.

 Use an appliance thermometer to be sure the temperature is consistently 40° F or below
and the freezer temperature is 0° F or below.
 If foods will be held hot until serving, hold above 135-F.
 Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and other perishables within 2 hours of
cooking or purchasing. Refrigerate within 1 hour if the temperature outside is above
90° F.
 Never thaw food at room temperature, such as on the counter top. Foods can be
defrosted: in the refrigerator, under cold running water, or in the microwave. Food
thawed under cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
 Always marinate food in the refrigerator.
 Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quicker cooling in the

For more information on food safety and foodborne illness, please visit: