Hamilton County, OH……Memorial Day traditionally kicks off the summer season with picnics, pools and lots of outdoor activity. Summer can also bring unwanted, but highly-preventable bouts of foodborne illness.
“Perhaps the most important thing you can do all year around is wash your hands with good, old soap and water,” says Hamilton County Health Commissioner Tim Ingram. “Simple hand washing can go a long way toward preventing many of the foodborne illnesses we in public health see every day.”
Following are some basic tips to keep you and your family safe while enjoying warm weather dining:
Separate: Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry and seafood separate, from grocery to final destination.
Chill: Keep meat, poultry and seafood refrigerated until ready for use. If you are transporting these items, your cooler should be below 41ºF.
Wash: Wash hands, food preparation surfaces and utensils.
Throw it out: When in doubt, throw it out. That includes food products that have been left out for too long. Also, any marinades that have come in contact with raw meats should be thrown out.
Temperature: When using a smoker, keep smoker temperature between 225ºF and 300ºF. For safety, cook foods to:
- 145°F – whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and veal;
- 145°F – fish;
- 155°F – hamburgers and other ground beef;
- 165°F – all poultry.
When cooking is finished, maintain food on the grill or stove at 135ºF or warmer until ready to serve. After your meal, be sure to place uneaten food in storage containers and refrigerate or freeze within two hours of cooking (or one hour if it’s over 90ºF outside.
“So much of the foodborne illnesses we deal with are completely avoidable with appropriate cleaning, cooking and storing practices,” Ingram adds. “After all, who wants to be sick during the great weather, or any other time!”
For more in-depth information on food safety practices, visit Hamilton County Public Health at www.hcph.org.
Hamilton County Public Health works to assure the 480,000 citizens living outside the cities of Cincinnati, Norwood and Springdale are safe from disease, injury and contamination.
Posted by: Mike Samet