WUPHD Stresses food safety during flood recovery

HOUGHTON COUNTY — Western U.P. Health Department encourages the community to be conscious about food safety during recovery efforts from last week’s floods. Any food that may have been contaminated during the flood should be discarded. Additional information regarding salvaging food and flood recovery is posted on the health department website at www.wupdhd.org.

Only non-perishable foods can be donated for relief efforts. To ensure safety in the community, health department staff will be conducting food safety inspections of any feeding operation set up in response to the flood emergency. Especially during times of flood clean-up, it is imperative that workers’ hands are thoroughly washed with soap and water before handling foods, and disposable gloves are worn when preparing food for the public. Persons who are exhibiting signs of illness should be reassigned to duties other than food preparation. Dishes, utensils, and countertops used to prepare food should be washed, rinsed, and sanitized with a bleach water solution (1 teaspoon per gallon of water). Only water that is confirmed to be from a safe source shall be used for a food operation. Food shall be maintained at safe temperatures: below 41 degrees F or above 135 F at all times. During a disaster, it is recommended to cook all food to a minimum of 165 degrees F. A thermometer should be used to monitor temperatures.  Advance preparation of food should be discouraged. Preparation of fresh food for each meal period is recommended.