Health Department - Environmental
take the time to cook food to safe temperatures? Because
that's the only sure way to destroy harmful bacteria that
could make you sick. The City County Health Department, Division
of Environmental Health is recognizing September as National
Food Safety Education Month, an annual observance to focus
attention on the importance of safe food handling and preparation
in both home and commercial kitchens.
by the food service industry in 1995, NFSM is widely supported
by federal, state, and local government agencies, food industry,
and consumer organizations. This year, NFSM is dedicated
increasing public awareness that an invisible cause of foodborne
illness-bacteria-can survive in foods if they are not properly
cooked. With Cook It Safely as its theme, NFSM will stress
the simple step of cooking to safe temperatures as one of
the most effective means of preventing foodborne illness.
to a 1998 Food and Drug Administration/U.S. Department of
Agriculture consumer food survey, most consumers have developed
a good foundation of food safety knowledge. However, many
are not following safe handling practices.
- A significant
number of people still eat foods, such as raw eggs and
hamburgers, that increase their chances of food borne illness.
all consumers understand the importance of cooking foods
to the temperatures necessary to ensure that bacteria and
other germs are killed.
people still believe that judging doneness by the color
of meat is a reliable indicator. A 1998 USDA study on premature
browning found that more than 25 percent of hamburgers
turn brown before reaching a safe internal temperature.
is that foods are cooked safely when they are heated for
a long enough time and at a high enough temperature to kill
the harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness.
some helpful tips to Cook It Safely:
a clean food thermometer to make sure that meat, poultry,
and casseroles reach a safe internal temperature.
meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures.
beef - 160F
(chicken breasts) - 170F
and steaks - 145F
poultry (turkeys /chickens) - 180F
eggs until the yolk and white are firm. Don't use recipes
in which eggs remain raw or partially cooked.
should be opaque and flake easily with a fork when done.
cooking in a microwave oven, make sure that there are no
cold spots in foods where bacteria can survive.
should be heated to a least 165F.
To learn more about safe food handling contact the Environmental Health Department at 633-4090.