William Walker, MD
Contra Costa Health Services
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Read more about Food Safety
Every season seems to have a
wonderful association with food:
Thanksgiving turkeys, holiday cookies,
summer barbecues, just to name a few.
You can probably come up with
as many examples as I can.
Unfortunately some of those
wonderful dishes have a potential
downside we all need to think about.
I'm Dr. William Walker, Director of
Contra Costa Health Services, here to
talk to you about food-borne illnesses and
To prevent unsafe food from ruining my
special occasions, I follow four simple steps:
Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.
First, keep it clean.
When handling food, wash your hands and
any surfaces that food will come in contact with.
Use warm, soapy water.
Also, when you prepare food away from home,
look for clean water to use for washing hands,
food preparation and surface cleaning—or
bring your own clean water and
pack wet disposable wipes or
antibacterial hand gel.
Keep it separated.
Separate raw meats, poultry, or
seafood from ready-to-eat foods.
This will keep the raw food from
cross-contaminating prepared foods.
If you're packing a raw meat in a container,
wrap the meat securely to keep the
juices from dripping onto other foods,
or pack the raw meat in a
separate container from the
ready-to-eat foods and drinks to
reduce the chance of cross-contamination.
And cook it well.
Make sure the food is cooked to
a proper temperature by
using a thermometer so that
harmful bacteria will be killed.
Don't partially cook the meat and
poultry before heading out.
If you do, some bacteria may
contaminate the meat in ways that
reheating will not cure.
Instead, completely cook the
meat at one time.
And lastly, chill it well.
Refrigerate food promptly.
Leaving food out can increase the
chance of food-borne bacteria setting in.
Leave marinating meat,
thawing poultry or fish in
Also, keep perishable foods in a
separate cooler from beverages—
that will keep the perishable foods colder.
By following the four simple steps of
Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill,
you will decrease the chances of
contracting food-borne illness and
increase your enjoyment of
For more information about food safety,
please visit our website cchealth.org.
Thanks for listening.