Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend, the Fayette County Health Department has released some tips for keeping your meals illness-free.
Following these food safety guidelines can help you prevent the spread of food-borne illness from picnic meals shared with family and friends. The health department suggests keeping your hands clean. Wash hands before eating or preparing food, after using the restroom, between handling raw and ready-to-eat items and after handling pets. Health officials said you should clean and sanitize surfaces often.
The health department suggests separating raw foods from ready-to-eat foods. Use different cutting boards or wash, rinse and sanitize after contact with raw meat, poultry and seafood. Never use the same plate for holding raw meat and transporting cooked meat.
Be sure to wash all produce thoroughly before use. Thoroughly clean the outer surface before slicing and keep work surface and utensils clean and sanitized.
Follow the cooking guidelines listed below for proper meat preparation. Cook food to the proper internal temperature. Always check the internal temperature of cooked foods with a metal-stemmed thermometer and cook another 15 seconds after the thermometer indicates it has reached the proper temperature.
Ground beef 160 degrees Fahrenheit, Poultry and stuffed meats 165 degrees, and Pork products 150 degrees.
The health department said reheat leftovers at 165 degrees. Leftovers should be cooled and maintained within two hours at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower or frozen at zero degrees or lower. When you are unsure how long leftover food has been out of proper serving temperature, a good rule of thumb to follow is “when in doubt, throw it out!”