Tag Archives: food safety

DHEC Launches New Campaign Showcasing How We Are “Stronger Together”

DHEC relies on strong partnerships to realize our vision of “healthy people living in healthy communities.”

We have launched “Stronger Together,” a video series, to highlight our strategic partnerships with stakeholders throughout the Palmetto State. This campaign helps demonstrate why we as agencies, organizations, South Carolinians and state are better when we work together.

This campaign is also a continuation of our agency’s recent “We Are DHEC” series by leveraging inspirational video testimonials and stories to raise awareness about DHEC’s work in the community and illustrate our strategic plan. In addition, these spotlights will show our core values – Embracing Service, Inspiring Innovation, Promoting Teamwork and Pursing Excellence – in action.

DHEC is proud to recognize our employees and partners who help us encourage habits that lead to healthy people living in healthy communities. We truly are “Stronger Together.”

Pursuing Excellence to Enhance Food Safety at South Carolina Restaurants

To kick-start the campaign, we are spotlighting our teamwork with the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (SCRLA).

In 2013, DHEC started working with SCRLA on revising our Retail Food Establishments Regulations, to enhance food safety at restaurants across the state. It had been 20 years since the last update, so significant changes had to be made to bring South Carolina up to the most current food safety science.

Since then, we have partnered with the team at SCRLA every year to host informational meetings on regulation changes and food safety topics.

Sandra Craig, DHEC Director of the Division of Food and Lead Risk Assessments, enjoys talking with members of the food service industry and working with SCRLA to further promote the message of food safety in a manner that people will listen.

Douglas OFlahertyVice President of Operations for SCRLA, emphasized the importance of the partnership between SCRLA and DHEC, which allows the improvement of regulations and outlets to ensure food safety.

“It doesn’t matter how much you pay, all food should be safe,” OFlaherty said.

Our collective work to keep South Carolina’s retail food industry engaged in the regulatory process embodies DHEC’s core value of Promoting Teamwork and strategy of Education and Engagement.

 

 

From Other Blogs: Risk Factors for Heart Disease, Emergency Preparedness Month, Food Waste Behavior

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

5 Key Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Heart disease is common among Americans. In fact, it’s the leading cause of death in the United States. The good news is there are things you can do to prevent this from happening to you. – From Flourish, Prisma Health’s blog

 

Welcome PrepTember: The Readiest Time of the Year

September is a busy month, and not just because that’s when all things pumpkin spice start showing up on store shelves and coffeehouse menus. Here are few reasons why September is possibly the busiest time of year for emergency and risk communicators, including those of us here at the Center for Preparedness and Response (CPR). – From Public Health Matters, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) blog

 

The Psychology of Food Waste: An Interview with Brian Roe and Laura Moreno

What’s the psychology behind food waste and what can we do to change our behavior? This interview features insights from Brian Roe, Professor and Faculty Lead at The Ohio State University’s Food Waste Collaborative and Laura Moreno, who received her Ph.D. studying food waste at the University of California, Berkeley. – From U.S. Department of Agriculture’s blog

Be a Food Safety Hero During National Food Safety Education Month

September is National Food Safety Education Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from eating contaminated food.

Follow these tips from the CDC to protect yourself and your loved ones from foodborne illness:

  • Clean: Wash hands, utensils, and kitchen surfaces often when you cook. Germs are everywhere.
  • Separate: Keep fresh produce separate from raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. Use separate cutting boards and plates.
  • Cook: Always use a food thermometer to know when food is safely cooked.
  • Chill: Refrigerate perishable food and leftovers within two hours.

DHEC plays an important part in South Carolina’s food safety, including inspections, food grades, and education. Visit https://scdhec.gov/food-safety to learn more about DHEC’s role.

Food Safety During and After a Storm

USDA Offers Food Safety Tips for Areas Affected by Hurricane Dorian

When hurricanes such as Dorian have significant impact on a state or region, they present the possibility of power outages and flooding that can compromise the safety of stored food.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued food safety recommendations for those who may be impacted by Hurricane Dorian. FSIS recommends consumers take the following steps to reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness during this and other severe weather events.

Steps to follow in advance of losing power:

  • Keep appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to ensure temperatures remain food safe during a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the refrigerator, 0°F or lower in the freezer.
  • Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a hurricane. These containers are small enough to fit around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold. Remember, water expands when it freezes, so don’t overfill the containers.
  • Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately—this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
  • Know where you can get dry ice or block ice.
  • Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.
  • Group foods together in the freezer—this ‘igloo’ effect helps the food stay cold longer.
  • Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.

Steps to follow if the power goes out:

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
  • Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross contamination of thawing juices.
  • Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.

Steps to follow after a weather emergency:

  • Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
  • Check each item separately. Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch.
  • Check frozen food for ice crystals. The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below.
  • Never taste a food to decide if it’s safe.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.

Food safety after a flood:

  • Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water—this would include raw fruits and vegetables, cartons of milk or eggs.
  • Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those packaged in plastic wrap or cardboard, or those with screw‐caps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps. Flood waters can enter into any of these containers and contaminate the food inside. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home-canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
  • Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel‐type can opener.

FSIS will provide relevant food safety information as the storm progresses on Twitter @USDAFoodSafety and Facebook.

FSIS’ YouTube video “Food Safety During Power Outages” has instructions for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe. The publication “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” can be downloaded and printed for reference during a power outage.

If you have questions about food safety during severe weather, or any other food safety topics, call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888MPHotline or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov. These services are available in English and Spanish from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Answers to frequently asked question can also be found 24/7 at AskKaren.gov.

From Other Blogs: Insulated Lunch Bags for Food Safety, Health Tips for Emergencies, Breastfeeding for Cancer Prevention

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Use an Insulated Lunch Bag to Keep Meals Safe

No matter your age, the end of summer is also a time of beginnings.  This means a new school year, new episodes of your favorite TV show and the start of football season.  Students, sports fans and outdoor enthusiasts all have one thing in common:  packed lunches.  – From U.S. Department of Agriculture’s blog

 

Good as Gold Prep Your Health Tips for All Seasons

Some things just age well:  jeans, wine, flannel sheets, and The Golden Girls.  That’s right, a 1980s sitcom about four single, women living, loving, and laughing together in Miami.  It lasted just 180 episodes.  Since going off the air in 1992, however, the show has regained some of its luster.

– From Public Health Matters, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Blog

 

Breastfeeding for Cancer Prevention

Did you know that breastfeeding can lower a mother’s risk for some cancers?  We are going to talk about the connection between breastfeeding and cancer prevention in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, an annual celebration the first week of August that recognizes global action to support women in their efforts to breastfeed. – From The Topic is Cancer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Blog