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Get Healthy Carson City: Cook and store food safely this summer

Cortney Bloomer and Valerie Cauhape
Carson City Health and Human Services

This weekly column addresses topics related to the health of our community.

Summer holidays, like Memorial Day coming up this weekend, present a great opportunity to spend time with friends and family around the grill or at a picnic. Preparing and storing food for outdoor summer events requires special precautions to ensure that food is safe to eat.

Start off your meal right by always washing your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. It’s important to wash both before and after handling food to help avoid cross-contamination. Cross-contamination is when germs from one type of food, like raw chicken, get on another type of food, like veggies for salad. When taking foods off the grill, do not put cooked food items back on the same plates that were used for raw food, unless they have been washed with hot water and soap first.

Another way to keep from cross-contaminating your food is to avoid re-using sauce that was used to marinate raw meat or poultry. If you want to re-use marinades as sauce for cooked food, be sure to boil it first or set aside a portion of the unused marinade to use later as a sauce. Always marinate food in the refrigerator.

Use a food thermometer to ensure that food on the grill reaches a safe internal temperature. Hamburgers should be cooked to 160 F, while large cuts of beef such as roasts and steaks may be cooked to 145 F for medium rare or to 160 F for medium. Poultry must reach a temperature of 165 F. Fish should be opaque and flake easily.

In hot weather (above 90 F) foods should never sit out for more than one hour before going in the refrigerator or cooler. A full cooler will maintain its cold temperatures longer than one that is partially filled, so it is important to pack plenty of extra ice or freezer packs to ensure a constant cold temperature. Keep the cooler out of the direct sun. Keep drinks in a separate cooler from foods. The beverage cooler will be opened frequently while the food cooler stays cold. Also, this will keep drinks from coming in contact with raw foods.

Temporary event permits are required for any vendor preparing food at a special event. If you are unsure if a food vendor is operating legally, look for a posted Health Department permit.

For more information about Health Department services, check out our website at http://www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or visit us on Facebook at Carson City Health and Human Services.

CLINICS

WHERE: Carson City Health and Human Services, 900 East Long St., Carson City

CALL: 775-887-2195

GENERAL CLINICS: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Wednesday and Friday by appointment

WELL CHILD VISITS: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays

MEN’S CLINIC: 4-6 p.m. Mondays. Call for an appointment.

IMMUNIZATION DAY: 8:30-11:30 a.m.; 1-4:30 p.m. Thursdays. No appointment needed.

Extended hours 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 28.

Vaccination is the best defense against the flu. CCHHS offers flu injections for $10.

• Cortney Bloomer and Valerie Cauhape, Carson City Health and Human Services.