The McHenry County Department of Health is reminding residents to prepare before hosting guests for a cookout this Fourth of July.
A metal-stemmed thermometer is as much a party essential as matching plates and napkins. The department of health wants residents to practice safe food handling by keeping “hot things hot” (greater than 135 degrees Fahrenheit) and “cold things cold” (less than 41 degrees Fahrenheit) to reduce the risk of a food-borne illness.
Other safety tips include:
• Thaw frozen meats in the refrigerator.
• Wash hands thoroughly with warm water and soap before and after handling foods.
• Clean all kitchen surfaces before you begin cooking.
• To avoid cross-contamination, use separate plates for raw and cooked meats.
• Scrub cutting boards with hot soapy water after preparing food.
• Use a metal stemmed food thermometer to ensure food is cooked to the proper temperature. Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria (see below).
• Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of serving time.
Food-borne illness is preventable. If you suspect a food-borne illness, contact MCDH at 815-334-4585, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. For after hour emergencies, call 815-344-7421.
Visit http://www.foodsafety.gov/ for other food safety tips.