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County environmental health – protect yourself from foodborne illness, avoid the temperature danger zone
August 30, 2018
SOLANO COUNTY – According to the Solano County Department of Resource Management, Environmental Health division, keeping food properly refrigerated, and out of the temperature danger zone is the most effective way to protect yourself and others from foodborne illness.
The Environmental Health Division of Solano County's Department of Resource Management will reinforce that message with an informational campaign in September as part of National Food Safety Education Month. The campaign will target people who work in the more than 400 restaurants and other food facilities across the county. Public health officials also point out the importance of avoiding the temperature danger zone for everyone as part of their daily lives.
During September, Environmental Health staff will conduct inspections at hundreds of food facilities to assess compliance with food safety requirements related to temperatures. Businesses will receive certificates of recognition for demonstrating safe cooling and storage techniques and following best practices for potentially hazardous foods.
"All of the food facilities we visit are supportive of environmental health’s educational campaign, as they are all concerned with providing good food that is safe for their customers," says Joyce Benefield, Solano County Senior Environmental Health Specialist. “This campaign is our way of taking a preventative approach to food safety by awarding facilities that apply good food safety practices and educating those who do not have a good grasp on some best management practices.”
Ensuring that foods are rapidly cooled under refrigeration to a temperature of 41°F or below is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Harmful bacteria grow at a faster rate in the danger zone temperature rage (42°F to 134°), and foods must pass through this temperature range quickly to reduce bacteria growth. Therefore, avoiding the prolonged exposure of foods to the temperature danger zone is one of the most effective means of reducing foodborne illness. Of the people who contract foodborne illness, about 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 people die each year in the US.
“Reducing foodborne illness by just 1 percent would keep 500,000 Americans from getting sick each year, and reducing foodborne illness by 10 percent would keep 5 million Americans from getting sick,” Benefield says. “At home, use a food thermometer, it will keep you and your family safe.”
For more tips and information, including the results of the food facility inspections, call the Department of Resource Management, Environmental Health Division’s Consumer Protection line at (707) 784-6765 or visit www.SolanoCounty.com/Depts/RM/Food_Facility.