Local government — St. Thomas
All persons preparing and serving food are reminded to practice strict safe food handling techniques to prevent occurrences of food borne illness at all times and especially during Carnival, according to a press release from the V.I. Department of Health.
“With the opening of Carnival Village slated for Friday and people expected en masse to enjoy native food and drink, we encourage food vendors to be proactive and be their own health inspectors by handling food safely,” said Health Commissioner Mercedes K.C. Dullum, M.D. “Cleanliness is a major factor in preventing food borne illness and by keeping everything clean that comes in contact with food, consumers can be assured they are helping to do their part to be food safe.”
The Department’s Public Health Preparedness Program is currently running ads to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Carnival encouraging all to “eat, drink and be merry but remember, be food safe.”
Be Food Safe is a joint food safety campaign by the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which supports the local public health program. As bacteria are everywhere, it means preventing food borne illness through four easy steps -- clean, separate, cook and chill:
- Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often.
- Separate: Don't cross-contaminate (meat, poultry and fish).
- Cook: Cook to proper temperatures.
- Chill: Refrigerate foods promptly, as necessary.
Persons preparing and serving food should also follow these other tips to prevent food borne illness:
- Wash hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing or after handling uncooked eggs or raw meat, poultry, or fish and their juices.
- Use gloves and remember to also wash gloved hands.
- Thoroughly wash with hot, soapy water all surfaces that come in contact with raw meat, poultry, fish, and eggs before moving on to the next step in food preparation.
- Keep cutting boards clean, wash them in hot, soapy water after each use. Once cutting boards become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves, replace them.
- Don't use the same platter and utensils that held the raw product to serve the cooked product. Any bacteria present in the raw meat or juices can contaminate the safely cooked product. Serve cooked products on clean plates, using clean utensils and clean hands.
- When using a food thermometer, it is important to wash the probe after each use with hot, soapy water before reinserting it into a food.
- Keep cleaning products and other chemicals away from food and surfaces used for food.