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City of Kansas City, Mo.

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Safe food handling techniques prevent many illnesses

The City of Kansas City, Mo., Health Department urges individuals to practice safe food handling techniques as they prepare food for the holiday weekend and over the summer months.

“Every year in the United Sates there are 75 million cases of food borne illnesses, and most of those are preventable,” said Bert Malone, manager of the Health Department’s Environmental Health Services Division. “People often know and practice safe food handling in their kitchens, but forget when they are preparing picnics and other outdoor meals.”

Following these steps will greatly decrease the risk of food borne illnesses:

    • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling both uncooked and cooked food.

    • Do as much as of the food preparation as possible in your kitchen.

    • When cooking meat, remember that ground meat is more likely to carry bacteria than meat that is not ground and should be cooked more thoroughly. Hamburgers should not be cooked “rare,” especially when grilled outside. All meat should be cooked thoroughly when prepared outside.

    • Refrigerate meat to be grilled until it is time to cook.

    • When thawing food to be cooked, the safest way is either in a refrigerator set at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below, or during the cooking process. You may thaw food under cold running water or in a microwave, but the food must then be cooked immediately.

    • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

    • Do not leave food sitting out to be eaten later; if the prepared food is cooked and is to be served warm, you should use a heating system that will keep the food over 135 degrees; if it needs to be kept cold, use a refrigerating system or cooler that will keep it under 41 degrees. Hot or cold foods that are kept outside of these temperatures can grow bacteria very quickly.

    • Make sure that everyone who handles the food, whether to serve themselves or others, washes their hands thoroughly.

For more information about safe food handling, visit the Health Department Web site,

Media inquiries about this topic should be directed to Jeff Hershberger, public information officer for the Health Department, 816-840-2548 (pager).

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City News Releases - 2010

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