From storing food to cooking it, there are several things people can do to avoid a food borne illness.
The Minnesota Department of Health offers these tips:
* Cold food must be maintained at 41 degrees or cooler.
* Eggs that will be eaten immediately and fish, meat and commercially raised game animals must be cooked to 145 degrees or more for 15 seconds.
* Chopped or ground meat, fish, commercially raised game animals, pork, injected meats and eggs cooked for hot holding must be cooked to 155 degrees or more for 15 seconds; or 150 degrees or more for one minute; or 145 degrees or more for three minutes.
* Poultry, stuffed food products, stuffing containing fish, meat or poultry and wild game animals must be cooked to 165 degrees or more for 15 seconds.
* Foods cooked in a microwave must be cooked to 165 degrees. The product must be covered and rotated or stirred during the cooking process. After cooking, allow the covered product to stand for two minutes before serving.
* If food will be used for hot holding, such as food used in a buffet, it must be maintained at 140 degrees or above. Roasts must be held at 130 degrees or more.
* Foods must be cooked from 140 to 70 degrees within two hours and from 70 to 41 degrees within an additional four hours.
* Food that is reheated for hot holding must be reheated to at least 165 degrees for 15 seconds.
* Bacteria grows best in potentially hazardous foods when the temperature is between 41 to 140 degrees. Disease causing bacteria grow well in foods high in protein, such as meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products, cooked vegetables and cooked cereal.
* Cooling tips for food are to never allow food to set on the countertop to cool; refrigerate or chill the food in an ice bath immediately upon removal from the heat source; use the right type of storage container -- a metal container chills food the fastest and plastic containers take longer; and allow for air circulation in the container.
* Hand washing is the single most effective means of preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses which can lead to a food borne illness. A person should wash their hands before starting to work with food, utensils or equipment; during food preparation; when switching between raw foods and ready to eat foods; after handling soiled utensils and equipment; after coughing, sneezing, using a tissue or tobacco; after touching bare human body parts; after handling animals; and after using the restroom.
For more information from the department of health, call the St. Cloud district office at 320-255-4216.
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