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Greene County Public Health Officials Provide Tips on Food Safety for Picnics and Grilling

In Children and Family, Food, Health, Local News, Uncategorized on May 22, 2023 at 11:24 am

From Greene County Public Health

XENIA, OH – With Memorial Day looming, graduations underway, and the summer season officially kicking off, Greene County Public Health officials want to remind everyone about safe food handling during picnic and grilling season. It is important to prepare and transport food safely to prevent foodborne illnesses, such as Salmonella, Norovirus, E. coli, etc. With a little bit of planning, summer parties and family gatherings can be fun and safe for all.

Please keep the following four points in mind:

Cooking Temperatures: It is very important to thoroughly cook raw animal foods to the proper temperatures to kill bacteria and prevent foodborne illnesses. Raw fish and whole muscle meats (steak, ribs, roasts) must be cooked to a minimum temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the Ohio Food Code, raw hamburgers (ground meats) must be cooked to a minimum of 155 degrees, and raw chicken must be cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Holding Temperatures: Bacteria begin to multiply between 41 degrees Fahrenheit and 135 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is important to keep hot foods HOT and cold foods COLD right up to the moment of cooking and/or serving. Cold food must be kept cold at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Only place small portions of food out at a time and replenish as needed. Hot foods must be maintained at 135 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent bacterial growth. Once any type of melon or tomato is sliced, it must be cooled down and held at 41 degrees Fahrenheit and never held at room temperature for more than 4 hours. Any food held out of temperature for more than 4 hours must be discarded to prevent a potential foodborne illness. It is important to use a clean and calibrated food thermometer to check the internal temperatures of the food you are cooking, holding, and serving.


Clean: According to the Partnership for Food Safety Education, 65% of consumers don’t wash their hands before starting meal preparation. Don’t be a statistic this season. Keep hands clean by using soap and warm water, scrubbing them for a minimum of 20 seconds. Rinse well and dry with a disposable towel. Use soapy water and a clean paper towel for tables and counters. Be sure to rinse and scrub fruits and vegetables under running water prior to cutting, slicing, or other preparation.

Separate: Use separate cutting boards…one for each raw protein (fish, ground meat, chicken) and a different one for fresh, washed produce. Keep utensils separate to keep germs that are naturally occurring on raw proteins from getting onto the fresh, washed produce. Always place cooked meat onto a clean plate. Make sure cooked meat does not come into contact with raw meat juices.

To download a flyer about grilling your foods safely, please visit: https://www.fightbac.org/grill-master/ For more information, please call Environmental Health Services at Greene County Public Health at 937-374-5600.

Thanksgiving Travelers Encouraged to Buckle Up.

In Children and Family, Education, Health, Local News, Media, psychology, Science, sociology, State News, Travel, Uncategorized on November 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Every Trip. Every Time.

Xenia, Ohio – The Thanksgiving holiday period is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and the Greene County Safe Communities Coalition wants to remind all travelers, whether they’re traveling across the country or just across town, that one of the best ways to ensure a safe arrival is to buckle up, every trip, every time. 

“During the long Thanksgiving travel weekend, many more people than usual are on the roads visiting family and friends,” says Laurie Fox, Safe Communities Coordinator.  “And we want to alert everyone that perhaps the single best thing they can do to save lives and protect themselves and their passengers on our roadways is to insist on the regular and proper use of their seat belts.”  

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved more than 12,500 lives nationwide during 2010 alone. In fact, research shows that the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants is reduced by 45-percent and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50-percent, when seat beats are worn correctly. 

Yet, too many people are still not getting the message.  Fifty-one percent of the 22,187 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle crashes during 2010 were NOT wearing seat belts at the time of their fatal crashes.

“It’s a simple step that each of us can take to protect ourselves and our loved ones.  Yet, too many people are still not buckling up — especially in the hustle and bustle of holiday travel,” says Fox. 

During the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday (which ran from 6 p.m., Wednesday, November 24, to 5:59 a.m., Monday, November 29) 337 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationwide, and 55-percent of those were unrestrained at the time of the crash. 

“Unfortunately, the overnight hours prove to be the most dangerous on our nation’s roadways, not only during the Thanksgiving holiday, but throughout the year,” says Fox. 

Nationally in 2010, 61-percent of the 10,647 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the overnight hours (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash, compared to 42-percent during the daytime hours.

During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, 64-percent of nighttime fatalities involved unbelted passenger vehicle occupants, while only 41-percent of daytime fatalities involved unbelted passenger vehicle occupants.

“Every day of the year, but especially during more dangerous travel times like the Thanksgiving holiday and at nighttime, we are working hard to remind everyone to always buckle up,” says Fox.  “Seat belts save lives, so please buckle up, every trip, every time, and so you can give thanks this holiday season and enjoy the time with your loved ones.”

For more information about traveling safely during Thanksgiving, please visit www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov.  For more information on Greene County Safe Communities, please call 937-374-5669 or email lfox@gcchd.org.  The Greene County Combined Health District is a grantee of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Office of Ohio Criminal Justice Services, Traffic Safety Division.