Preventing Foodborne Illness
Foodborne illness, also called food poisoning, is a serious national public health problem. According to a report by the CDC, each year it causes an estimated 48 million people to get sick, 128,000 to be hospitalized, and 3,000 to die. For most people sickened by foodborne illness it is unpleasant and uncomfortable but not serious. For those who are hospitalized, however, it is a calamity, causing suffering for victims and worry for their families and friends. Many of these cases can be prevented if simple food safety practices are used.
Follow these 4 steps to help prevent foodborne illness:
1. Clean: Wash your hands and surfaces often
One of the most important personal hygiene habits can also prevent foodborne illness. Following these simple steps ensures that you are making the most of your handwashing:
1. Wet your hands with warm water.
2. Apply soap to your hands
3. Wash and scrub for 20 seconds (this is about how long it takes to sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star at normal speed).
4. Rinse off the soap
5. Dry your hands with a paper towel or air dry. If possible, turn off the faucet with a paper towel.
Although it seems simple, washing your hands is the first line of defense in preventing foodborne illness. Frequent and thorough hand washing can help keep everyone safe. You should wash your hands before handling food, after touching raw meat, after going to the bathroom or changing a diaper, handling garbage, after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose, and anytime you think your hands may be contaminated.
***Remember to always wash your utensils, cutting boards, and countertops with hot, soapy water; and to rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running water.
2. Separate: Don't cross-contaminate
Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread germs to ready-to-eat foods—unless you keep them separate.
- Use separate cutting boards and plates for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
- When grocery shopping, keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and their juices away from other foods.
- Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods in the fridge.
3. Cook: To the right temperature
Food is safely cooked when the internal temperature gets high enough to kill germs that can make you sick. The only way to tell if food is safely cooked is to use a food thermometer. You can’t tell if food is safely cooked by checking its color and texture.
Use a food thermometer to ensure foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature. (Check this chart for a detailed list of foods and temperatures).
145°F for whole cuts of beef, pork, veal, and lamb (then allow the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating)
160°F for ground meats, such as beef and pork
165°F for all poultry, including ground chicken and turkey
165°F for leftovers and casseroles
145°F for fresh ham (raw)
145°F for fin fish or cook until flesh is opaque
4. Chill: Refrigerate promptly.
- Keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below and know when to throw food out.
- Refrigerate any leftover perishable foods within 2 hours. (If outdoor temperature is above 90°F, refrigerate within 1 hour.)
- Thaw frozen food safely in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Never thaw foods on the counter, because bacteria multiply quickly in the parts of the food that reach room temperature.
Food Safety Classes
Food Handler Training
Food handler classes are held in the basement of the health department or can be done on-site be request.
To register for a class call the Public Health Environmental Specialists, Melanie Honaas or Taylor Brady at the Perry County Health Department at 573-547-6564.
Our Local Health Department is contracted with the State of Missouri to inspect, monitor, and educate. Therefore these food handler classes will be offered in accordance with the presently adopted State Food Code.
Site specific training is offered as well. Always feel free to call and speak to the Public Health Environmental staff to make arrangements for a class that fits your type of business.
Online Food Handler and Food Manager Training
Online courses for food handler training and manager certification training is available as well.Please select any links below to start your online training:
Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic
FDA is sharing information about best practices to operate retail food stores, restaurants, and associated pick-up and delivery services during the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard workers and consumers. Visit https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-during-emergencies/best-practices-re-opening-retail-food-establishments-during-covid-19-pandemic on the FDA website for more information and to download infographic, promotional COVID-19 prevention signage, and food safety checklist. It is also translated in Spanish, simplified Chinese and Korean. On the web page, click on the identified link for the specific language under the infographic to see the respective language version.
Stay Educated - Stay Safe - Stay in Business!
The Perry County Environmental Department Inspects Food Establishments Regularly.
The Perry County Health Department contracts with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to inspect food establishments and enforce the current Missouri Food Code.
Currently, the County Health Department conducts inspections at a frequency based on risk. Risk is calculated by giving values to risk factors such as the type of population served, the number of meals served per day, the types of food served and the manner and proportions in which the food is prepared and served. Higher risk values are also given to establishments with a history of critical violations and involvement in a foodborne illness. A higher risk value will increase the frequency of inspections.
An inspection of an establishment is simply an evaluation of the establishment at that particular time on that particular day. Generally speaking, the inspection reflects on the management's overall ability to maintain safe food handling practices. The purpose of the inspection is to safeguard the public health by providing consumers with safe, unadulterated and honestly presented food. For more information on the current Missouri Food Code click on this link Missouri Food Code for the Food Establishments of the State of Missouri.
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services contracts with Perry County Health Department to respond to emergency incidents involving food such as truck wrecks, train derailments, fires, floods etc. An inspection and assessment of the food is conducted as soon as possible after the incident.
The purpose of the program is to prevent damaged human food from re-entering commerce. The Environmental Public Health Specialist and staff are on call 24 hours a day, seven days per week. When an incident occurs, the Missouri Highway Patrol or local law enforcement will contact the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Situation Room who in turn contacts the Perry County Health Department. The Environmental Specialist will respond as needed.
When working with distressed foods - the Perry County Health Department is again contracted with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to inspect and ensure the safety of all foods. If food products have been compromised in any way (flood, weather, fire, etc.) the Environmental Public Health Specialist may embargo and/or retain foods until they are properly disposed of or salvaged.
Please phone the Perry County Health Department at 573-547-6564 for information pertaining to Safe Food Salvage or the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services at 573-751-6161.
Click on the links below for more information regarding distressed foods: