Safe Food Handling – SEPARATE

By Gracie Dean, Kennesaw State University Intern

The FDA provides us with 4 steps that must be followed in order to handle food safely:

1.) Clean 2.) Separate 3.) Cook 4.) Chill

Now, we will dive into Step #2: SEPARATE

Follow these tips to assure proper separation:

  • Never reuse cutting boards, bowls, plates, and utensils that have had raw meat, seafood, poultry or eggs on them unless they have been properly cleaned and sanitized.
  • Keep raw meat, seafood, poultry, and eggs away from other food items.
  • Use this cutting board color guide to help avoid cross contamination in your kitchen:

Green cutting board = fruits and salad

Red cutting board = raw meat

Blue cutting board = raw fish

Brown = vegetables

White = bakery and dairy

For more information visit:

Safe Food Handling – CLEAN

By Gracie Dean, Kennesaw State University Intern

The FDA provides us with 4 steps that must be followed in order to handle food safely:

 1.) Clean 2.) Separate 3.) Cook 4.) Chill

Let’s dive into Step #1: CLEAN

Wash those hands! Before and after working with food, going to the bathroom use, changing diapers, handling pets, and any time your hands may have been contaminated. Check out the video below to see the proper technique:

Keep surfaces clean! Clean and sanitize cutting boards, utensils and countertops before and after preparing food items. Learn more about the correct way to clean and sanitize throughout your kitchen in the following video:

Food Poisoning and At-Risk Populations

By Gracie Dean, Kennesaw State University Intern

Food poisoning poses a risk to all individuals, however, certain groups of people are more susceptible to serious illnesses from food poisoning and these groups are considered “at-risk.”

As taken from the CDC, the following groups of people are “at-risk” or high risk for foodborne illness.  Try and match the at-risk group to the correct description!

At-risk GroupDescription
People with Weakened Immune SystemsA: Weak, developing immune system; Likely to experience diarrhea and dehydration; Salmonella infections are more prone to lead to hospitalizations; 1/7 of this population can have kidney failure if infected with E. coli O157
Children Younger than 5 YearsB: Numerous germs affect this group; 10x more likely to contract Listeria
Adults Aged 65 and OlderC: Often, unable to fight germs due to diabetes, liver or kidney disease, alcoholism, HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy
Pregnant WomenD: Immune systems are often weakened and can’t fight off germs as effectively; Half of this group that have a lab-confirmed foodborne illness are hospitalized 

For more information about at-risk groups, please visit:

Answer Key:

  • People with Weakened Immune Systems: C
  • Children Younger than 5 Years: A
  • Adults Aged 65 and Older: D
  • Pregnant Women: B

Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting

Set of washing and cleaning equipment household chores concept

By Gracie Dean, Kennesaw State University Intern

In order to avoid sticky situations, we must address 3 vital steps to keep your food service operations in excellent shape: cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting!

Get rid of food and dirt build up on surfaces!Bring pathogen levels down on food contact surfaces!Goodbye microorganisms! Continue to disinfect high touch surfaces during this pandemic period!

While cleaning and sanitizing is sufficient for addressing most food service cleaning tasks, disinfection is necessary under certain circumstances, such as cleaning bathrooms and cleaning up after fecal and vomit related incidents.

But wait… there’s more!

Clean and sanitize all food contact surfaces:
1. When changing foods – to avoid cross contamination!

2. After each use

3. When switching between different foods

4. After 4 hours of continual use
Clean and sanitize with 4 simple steps:
1. Get rid of surface level food debris with a cleaning tool

2. Prep/access your approved-cleaner solution and wash the surface with a cleaning tool

3. Rinse the surface with clean water

4. Sanitize the surface with a sanitizing solution that’s prepared at the right concentration and applied for the required minimum contact time

Have a Safe and Tasty Labor Day!

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By Ikhaeer Howard, Environmental Health Specialist 2

With Labor Day almost upon us, we encourage everyone to continue practicing safe food preparation measures in the midst of having fun. Follow proper cooking and cooling temperature guidelines when preparing your food, and don’t forget to keep the hot foods hot and the cold foods cold.  Don’t let your food sit out for too long, and remember to keep raw meats and their marinades away from cooked meats and other ready-to-eat foods – separate and don’t contaminate!  For more information, please check out the CDC’s food safety tips for your kitchen and grill, as well as the resources found on our own Food Service Applications and Information page

Welcome September: Welcome Food Safety Awareness Month

Throughout the month of September, we will share information to enhance your knowledge of food safety in your day-to-day lives.  The recent inclement weather we’ve experienced draws attention to the need to be prepared in our personal and professional lives when adverse conditions could affect our access to the potable water that’s necessary to assure food safety.  For assistance in the development of an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), please see the Emergency Operations Plan Preparation Tool posted on our Food Service – Boil Water Advisory Guidance page along with other helpful resources for plan preparation.  You will also find resources on our website to assist with keeping food safe at home in the event of power outages and/or water service interruptions.

As a reminder, food service facilities are only allowed to operate for up to 2 hours in the event of a water service interruption unless an EOP that covers water interruption has been approved by the health department.  For further assistance, please contact our Cobb Environmental Health Office at 770-435-7815 or our Douglas Office at 770-920-7311.

Free FDA Retail Food Protection Seminar

The 2021 FDA Retail Food Protection Seminar will be held virtually September 13-16, 2021.  It is open to all interested in retail food safety, including those in the food industry, academia, and regulators. And even more, registration is free!


Coming in August: A ServSafe Class in Douglas County!

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An in-person ServSafe Food Safety Managers Course will be hosted by Cobb & Douglas Public Health at the Douglas County Courthouse (8700 Hospital Drive, Douglasville, GA 30134) on August 24-25, 2021.  Instruction will be presented to prepare for the ServSafe Food Safety Managers exam which will be administered at the end of the 2nd day of class.  If you need to re-certify, retest or take the course for the first time, please see the ServSafe Registration Form for more information.  The deadline for registration is August 7th, however, space is limited so please don’t delay if you’re in need of this certification.

Feel free to share this information with anyone that may be interested in taking the course.

Food Safety Crossword Puzzle!

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If you need some food safety oriented entertainment during the Fourth of July weekend, the crossword puzzle linked below definitely fits the bill!

We hope you all have a festive and safe holiday and don’t forget to check those minimum internal cook temperatures as you’re taking the meat off of the grill!

Increase Your Food Allergy Awareness

By Caleb King, Public Health Intern

Food allergies and food safety continue to be a growing public health concern.   Cobb & Douglas Public Health would like to take some time to raise awareness about food allergies as they relate to food safety.  A food allergy is an immune system response to a food that the body mistakenly believes is harmful, and approximately 32 million Americans have a food allergy!  According to the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), 1 in 13 children and up to 1 in 10 adults in the United States have a food allergy.   Please make sure that your employees take customers’ food allergies seriously to prevent future life-threatening complications. 

As we continue to ensure the safety of our customers, it’s not enough to just know the 8 most common food allergens.   It is also important to remember that cross-contact can occur when food containing an allergen comes into contact with the food served to the customer.  So remember to use separate utensils for foods containing food allergens and avoid placing another food item on a surface that a known food allergen has been on without cleaning and sanitizing the surface between uses.

Here are some good resources for more information on food allergies: