A Food Safety Message from Marion County Environmental Health

kebab on grill

On Monday, August 21, 2017, our area will experience a rare natural event – the total eclipse of the sun. We want to make sure people are considering safe food and water practices as they gather with family and friends to experience the event.

The first step in food safety is washing your hands before you begin handling any food. Did you know when you wash your hands you are removing more than five million germs off your hands?

Washing hands is always important, but especially so if you are handling food that will not be cooked before being eaten. When food is cooked you generally kill any germs on the food that can make you sick.  So, wash your hands to reduce the risk of getting sick from the food you eat.

What is the right way to wash your hands?

  • Wet your hands with warm water, turn off the tap, and apply soap
  • Lather your hands by rubbing together with the soap. Be sure to include all parts of your hands and nails
  • Scrub for 10-15 seconds. How can you measure that? Hum the Happy Birthday song or Row, Row your Boat from beginning to end twice
  • Rinse your hands under clean, running water
  • Dry your hands using a clean or disposable towel and use the same towel to shut off the water

General rules for food safety include:

  • Wash hands before, during, and after any food preparation
  • Keep a hot food hot — greater than 135F
  • Keep cold foods cold — less than 41F
  • Be careful not to accidentally cross-contaminate ready-to-eat foods with raw foods such as potato salad with raw hamburger
  • Use water that is safe

Be sure you have the equipment to keep foods hot and cold to match your menu. The best food safety phrase is “If you have any doubt- THROW IT OUT.” The water you drink will also keep you healthy- it should come from an approve source. It is not recommended to drink directly out of lakes, rivers, and streams.

Have a safe event and protect your family with safe water and food.