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McHenry County offers Fourth of July food safety tips.

Byline: Submitted by McHenry County Department of Health

If you are planning a cookout for the July Fourth weekend, make sure it includes more than a menu and invited guests. A metal-stemmed thermometer is as much a party essential as matching plates and napkins.

The McHenry County Department of Health wants you to practice safe food handling by keeping "hot things hot" -- greater than 135 degrees Fahrenheit, and "cold things cold" -- less than 41 degrees Fahrenheit, to reduce your risk of a food-borne illness.

Other safety tips include:

* Thaw frozen meats in the refrigerator.

* Wash hands thoroughly with warm water and soap before and after handling foods.

* Clean all kitchen surfaces before you begin cooking.

* To avoid cross contamination, use separate plates for raw and cooked meats.

* Scrub cutting boards with hot soapy water after preparing food.

* Use a metal stemmed food thermometer to ensure food is cooked to the proper temperature. Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria.

* Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of serving time.

Food-borne illness is preventable.

If you suspect a food-borne illness, call McHenry County Department of Health at (815) 334-4585 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For after-hour emergencies, call (815) 344-7421. Visit for other food safety tips.

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Title Annotation:Neighbor
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Jul 3, 2019
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