Stay Merry with these Nine Safe Holiday Food Tips

img_8909Follow these tips to stay food safe this holiday season whether you are making a Christmas ham, Kwanzaa jerk chicken or Hanukkah latkes.

  1. Use a chafing dish to keep hot foods at (+135°F) or above.
  2. Use ice bowls to keep food cold (-41°F).
  3. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of preparation.
  4. Reheat leftovers quickly and thoroughly to 165°F.
  5. Bake cookies according to instructions It’s temping, but don’t eat the raw dough!
  6. Prevent colds from spreading to your food. Keep sticky fingers out of the kitchen and cover foods if possible.
  7. Wash all fresh produce before cutting or consuming.
  8. Wash your hands before, during and after food prep.
  9. If frying foods, be aware of the cooking times needed to make sure food are fully cooked and ready for consumption. Find out where to properly dispose of the cooking oil after use here.

What food tips or recipes do you have to share with us? Comment below!

Happy Holidays from Environmental Health Services!

Food Placards: Have You Seen Them?

Have you seen these PASS placards around San Mateo County?

Have you seen these PASS placards around San Mateo County?

It’s been eleven months since Environmental Health Services (EHS) started putting up color-coded food placards as part of routine food inspections in San Mateo County.

Since January 2016, 86% of restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores and other food facilities have enrolled in the program and are now displaying green “PASS” placards. EHS staff initially issued 38 yellow “CONDITIONAL PASS” and 29 red “CLOSED” placards, however through technical assistance provided all of these food facilities are now displaying green “PASS” placards.

Since the placards went live we’ve received some questions from you about the program, so we’ve summarized some quick facts about what the green, yellow and red colors mean and where to look for them the next time you head out to your favorite restaurant, cafeteria, or café.

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Keep the Food Tricks Out of “Trick-or-Treating” this Halloween

halloweendessertHalloween can be a fun and spooky time of year for all with sweet treats and parties and the grand event of trick-or-treating.

To make sure this year’s trick-or-treating experience stays fun, Environmental Health Services recommends the following food safety tips for your scary celebration.

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Stay Food Safe When Going Back to School

father_son_foodSummer is over which means the kids are back in school and you are back to packing lunches on the go. Before you start packing, Environmental Health Services want to remind you about a few food safety tips that will prevent your little ones (or not so little) from falling ill because of improper food handling.

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Stay Food Safe this Summer Grilling Season

Have a food safe summer.

Have a food safe summer.

With the dog days of summer upon us, it’s the season to take extra precautions when handling, cooking and serving food for your backyard barbecues or outdoor picnics.

While the warmer weather may be ideal for summer grilling, it also creates an ideal environment for bacteria and pathogens to grow in food and cause foodborne illnesses.

Luckily, we have compiled a list of simple steps to help you stay a grilling superstar and not the one who ruined Uncle Joe’s barbeque by making everyone sick.

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Mussels on the Menu?

Are your mussels safe to eat?

Are your mussels safe to eat?

You may have heard about the commercial California Dungeness crab season getting a very late start this year due to domoic acid levels that took fresh crab off the menu. Another poison that you may not have heard about is paralytic shellfish poisoning. It’s a toxin to keep on your radar if you are a shellfish hunter, or just a fan of eating locally harvested shellfish.

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Update: Food Placarding Has Started

Have you seen a PASS placard around?

Have you seen a PASS placard around?

For the past few months, Environmental Health Service’s food program has been hosting a series of “How to Get a Green” sessions for restaurants to help prepare for the food placarding system that officially launched on January 1, 2016.

The sessions taught restaurant employees and management how to get a green placard by avoiding the five most common food violations that contribute to food-borne illness.

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Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips: Everybody knows a turkey and some…side dishes

be food prepared this Thanksgiving

be food prepared this Thanksgiving

Nat King Cole sang this verse about turkey during the holidays, but you can learn a lot from the USDA Poultry hotline about safe turkey handling and cooking. However, it’s the side dishes and daylong potluck buffet that will have you singing the blues if you don’t watch it.

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San Mateo County Getting Ready to Debut New Placarding System for Restaurants

San Mateo County will be rolling out a food placarding system beginning January 1, 2016

San Mateo County will be rolling out a food placarding system beginning January 1, 2016

San Mateo County diners will soon have a quick and easy way to see if their favorite eateries are complying with County food safety regulations.

Starting January 2016, San Mateo County will join other counties throughout the Bay Area and northern California in using the colored-coded placarding system. The system consists of using green (pass), yellow (conditional pass) and red (closure) placards to determine a facility’s food safety status. They will be displayed and clearly visible for the public to see how a restaurant has scored on their food safety inspection, often placed in a window at eye level.

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