Outdoor grilling season is upon us, and it’s important to remember that the shift of food preparation outdoors comes with its own unique challenges. The CDC’s Get Ready to Grill Safely poster serves as an effective food safety reminder for outdoor cooks as they prepare for their outdoor food festivities. You don’t want to give E.coli, Salmonella, and their other pathogenic friends an opportunity to spoil the party!
There has been a recent increase in the number of Hepatitis A (HAV) cases reported in the state of Georgia. HAV is a highly contagious disease that affects the liver, and a person may have HAV several days before showing any signs and symptoms. Food service operators are asked to please ensure good hygienic practices are adhered to and that all workers are aware of employee health reporting requirements.
The Hepatitis A fact sheet prepared by the Georgia Department of Public Health provides a good summary that may be utilized in food service establishments to assist with the education of staff members and to assist in monitoring.
Cobb & Douglas Public Health will be closed on Tuesday, January 28. Please check our website for updates regarding any future delays or closures.
As you prepare for the wintry weather, please take a look at the documents listed below to help you and your family be ready for its arrival. More guidance for food service establishments may be found on the Food Service page of our website.
A recent increase in reports of undercooked meat and poultry received by our Environmental Health Office prompts this reminder about the importance of cooking these foods to their correct minimum food temperatures. Food borne illnesses that can result from undercooking these foods (such as Salmonella and E. coli O157) can be very serious—even life threatening. Not only is proper temperature monitoring important, but you must take into consideration any change in the portion size of the food that is being cooked. Additionally, kitchen equipment that is being used to cook food and monitor temperatures should be properly maintained and calibrated to assure that they are working properly.
For instance, if the size of the hamburger patty received from the supplier has increased, the cooking time and heat settings on equipment will normally need to be adjusted in order to meet the minimum cooking temperatures required for food safety. Food service operators and consumers can check out the FoodSafety.gov guide to Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures to review the minimum safe cook temperatures for a variety of foods that can support the growth of bacteria if mishandled.
by Casey Saenz, Environmental Health Specialist 3
Recently, at a monthly staff meeting, our Food Program Manager Karen Gulley played for us a video testimonial regarding a case of food poisoning that led to a fatality. After the video, she said something that was very important for all of us to hear. She mentioned that sometimes, we, as inspectors, forget the importance of the risk factors for foodborne illness that are assessed during inspections. Since we check various food service facilities on a daily basis, it is important that we don’t minimize the importance of what we do to help prevent foodborne illness by allowing what we do to become too routine. This is as important—if not more important– for operators of food service facilities to keep in mind.
Since September is Food Safety Education Month, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share a few foodborne illness testimonial videos to help remind all of us about those that count on us to keep their food safe and the importance of food safety.
Foodborne Illness Testimonial Videos Link:
More testimonials can be viewed here:
Happy Food Safety Month!
During a recent study in our food service establishments of the common factors that cause foodborne illness, two areas identified as needing more attention were handwashing and keeping food & food contact surfaces protected and clean. Foodsafety.gov has provided a good summary of tips and facts to assist with gaining knowledge and training in this area. The Clean principle covers:
- When and how to wash your hands
- When and how to wash food contact surfaces
- Where and how to wash fruits & vegetables (but not meat or poultry)
Plus, there’s a short summary video to tie it all together!
Let’s keep it clean!
Recent reports of hurricanes along the East Coast prompts a reminder to check your preparedness status regarding food safety during emergencies. Whether you’re a consumer or a food service operator, please check out the following:
A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms & Hurricanes provided by the US Department of Agriculture
Home Emergency Preparedness from the College of Family and Consumer Sciences of the University of Georgia
Be Prepared Georgia! brochure from the University of Georgia Extension