WHAT’S THAT TEMPERATURE?

by Parish Divinity, EHS

As the holiday season approaches and new menu items start appearing, emphasis is again placed on the proper cooking of foods.  Time and temperature control for safety foods that require cooking are considered “cooked” only after they have been heated to the minimum cook temperatures designated for the particular food item.  This minimum cook temperature must be reached in order to kill harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli 0157.  Color and texture alone won’t tell you whether your food is done. Instead, use a food thermometer to be verify the food’s internal temperature.   When checking the temperature of food, always check the temperature in at least two locations, and at least one of those temperatures should be measured in the thickest part of the food (if applicable).

Test your knowledge by taking this short Minimum Internal Cooking Temperatures Quiz provided by ServSafe.

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SUPER BOWL LIII IS ALMOST HERE!

The excitement is building as the 53rd Super Bowl makes its way to the Atlanta Metro area.  We are  assisting the Host Committee of Super Bowl LIII as preparations are being made.  If you are planning special activities during Super Bowl week (January 26 – February 4, 2019), please visit the Atlanta Conventions and Visitors Bureau site for event registration, filling out as much information as you can.  The Host Committee will use this information to coordinate with public safety partners on traffic and crowd management.   

Also, if you want to share a public event, you can post it to the Atlanta Conventions and Visitors Bureau calendar of events on the same form.  Events will only be made public if you select that option when you register the event.  The registration site provides a good way to advertise what you have planned. 

If your plans include changing your business model and/or the addition of equipment, be sure to submit your proposal to the health department as soon as possible.  In addition, the Fire Marshal’s office will need to be contacted for approval if you will be adding cooking equipment or if a change in your authorized occupancy is anticipated. 

For more information, contact Food Program Manager Karen Gulley at 678-385-5066.

Employee Health Achiever Recognitions

More than 100 individuals have scored 100% on the Employee Health and Hygiene quiz since the beginning of September when the Employee Health Achievers campaign began.  Take a look at our growing list of facilities that have achieved recognition as Employee Health Achievers.  Congratulations goes out to each of them! 

If you’re interested in finding out the requirements for this special recognition and how to access the quiz, please visit Become an Employee Health Achiever on our website.

FACILITIES RECOGNIZED FOR EMPLOYEE HEALTH ACHIEVEMENT

The first of the facilities being recognized as Employee Health Achievers  have been posted on our website —having met the requirements during the first month of our campaign (September 2018).   The list will be updated once a month, and we already have quite a few more to add for the month of October.  For more information regarding the criteria for recognition during this campaign, check out our Food Service page.

Congratulations to the first of our Achievers!

SAFE COOKING TEMPERATURES

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.

Foodborne Illness Testimonials

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:

https://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/ucm608193.htm 

More testimonials can be viewed here:

https://goo.gl/XVm6AX

Happy Food Safety Month!