Friday, November 6, 2015

Happy & Healthy Eating Reminder: Preventing Foodborne Illness this Holiday Season

No matter how large or small your holiday guest list may be this year, it is important to be aware of safety issues when thawing, preparing, stuffing and cooking your turkey and other holiday meal additions. A few simple steps can help keep foodborne illness off the menu this Thanksgiving. 
  • Safe Thawing:  Thawing turkeys must be kept out of the "danger zone" temperature (between 40 and 140°F) — this is the temperature range where foodborne bacteria multiply rapidly. See Safe Methods for Thawing, (Spanish version). 
  • Safe Preparation:   Bacteria present on raw poultry can contaminate your hands, utensils, and work surfaces as you prepare the turkey. After working with raw poultry, always wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces before they touch other foods.
  • Safe Stuffing:  Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165°F, possibly resulting in foodborne illness. Follow these steps to safely prepare, cook, remove, and refrigerate stuffing; Spanish language instructions.
  • Safe Cooking:  Set the oven temperature no lower than 325°F and be sure the turkey is completely thawed. Cooking times will vary. The food thermometer must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. For more information on safe internal temperatures, visit's Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
Other resources:
JCPH turkey time handout or view the JCPH Food Safety web  page.

Healthy Habits Prevent Spread of Disease

Our hands are exposed to germs with our every action. Keeping hands clean through proper handwashing practices is one the most effective and important steps taken to control spreading germs and/or getting sick. People often touch their eyes, nose, and mouth-- places where many germs exist—with their hands numerous times each day without even noticing. Germs can also make their way onto our hands after using the toilet, handling raw foods, shaking hands with another person, or touching any object someone has sneezed or coughed on or around, for example.

With the height of flu season just ahead and other viruses and illnesses threatening our health this fall, it’s important to use the most basic sanitary practices to stay well. Simply washing hands with soap and clean, running water can prevent the spread of many diseases, illnesses and conditions and help people and communities stay healthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), handwashing with soap could protect about 1 out of every 3 young children who get sick with diarrhea and nearly 1 out of every 6 young children with respiratory infections like pneumonia.

For more information on the correct handwashing procedures view this brochure.

Quit Tobacco for a Day or Quit for Life During this Year’s Great American Smokeout

In honor of the American Cancer Society’s annual Great American Smokeout, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is encouraging people who use tobacco to quit for the day or quit for life on November 19, 2015.

Tobacco products and their ingredients are designed to be addictive with nicotine serving as the primary chemical compound that causes dependence. According to the 2012 Surgeon General’s Report, most people initiate tobacco use before the age of 18, and because the teen brain is still developing, youth are more vulnerable to nicotine addiction. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke exposure cause more than 480,000 deaths each year.

Regardless of the age of initiation or the length of time a person has used tobacco, quitting is possible and worth it. According to the CDC, the number of people who have quit smoking successfully exceeds the number of people that currently smoke. Quitting takes practice, and, even though it often takes more than one attempt to quit successfully, chances of success increase with each quit attempt. It is never too late to quit, and the body begins to heal shortly after stopping any form of tobacco.

If you or someone you care about is interested in being tobacco-free for the Great American Smokeout on November 19, 2015, preparing for the day in advance increases the chances of success. JCPH recommends using this nine day quit guide to help with planning a quit date. For additional support with quitting tobacco, consider using some of the following free resources:
·         Call the Colorado QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit
·         Attend a free tobacco cessation group hosted by Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge on Tuesdays at 12:00 pm or 5:30 pm. This is a six week drop-in group that provides adults who want to quit smoking with tools and support to achieve their goals.  (You do not need to attend all six weeks in order to participate.)
·         Visit the Thinking of Quitting page on the Tobacco-Free Jeffco Website.
·         Visit for additional information about secondhand smoke, Colorado tobacco laws, and resources to help with breaking free from tobacco addiction.

Jefferson County Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention Initiative is working with students, parents and community members to educate about the harms of tobacco in our communities and to promote tobacco-free living. For more information or to get involved, please visit:, email us at or call Donna Viverette at 303-275-7555.