UCHD, Protecting Your Health.


Thursday, 05 September 2013 18:51

Food Safety Honor Roll

Did you know that according to the National Restaurant Association, 96% of people say it is IMPORTANT to know that the restaurants they visit train employees in food safety and that 81% of people say they would be MORE likely to visit a restaurant that trains ALL of their employees in food safety?

Certificate FSM

In other words: Consumers are more likely to visit establishments that value safe food handling and procedures. Promoting the fact that you take food safety seriously can lead to increased revenue and happier customers!



As part of Food Safety Month and as a service to our operators, Union County Health Department is starting a program called the Food Safety Honor Roll*. Each September during Food Safety Month, UCHD will publish a list of  food establishments who exhibit dedication and commitment to safe food handling and train their staff in food safety. The list is self-nominated and will be published on our website throughout the year as well as released to the local media. It is a great way to increase the public’s confidence in your establishment and attract more customers.

UCHD is excited to kick off the Food Safety Honor Roll for publication in September 2014. For establishments who want to begin promoting their commitment to food safety this year, check out uchd.net to let consumers know that you value food safety and pledge to train your staff in safe food handling. The Food Safety Honor Roll is all about working in cooperation with food service operators to encourage participation in food safety education and is a free way for outstanding operators to promote their businesses.

To make the honor roll fill out the iconFood Safety Honor Roll and submit by July 31st to be included in that year’s Food Safety Honor Roll.



*Note: The Food Safety Honor Roll is a self-nominated list that is then reviewed by UCHD. Establishments on the list may not necessarily be the safest food service establishment but are ones that have voluntarily chosen to show a dedication to food safety. Establishments missing from the list may still be dedicated to following food safety practices and procedures just have not provided UCHD with that information through the Food Safety Honor Roll Program. This program is used as an encouragement for businesses already following strict food safety practices and training schedules by rewarding them by publicly sharing their noteworthy food safety dedication status. The program is also used as an incenitive for other establishments to increase food safety training and practices in their businesses. 


Please feel free to direct any Food Safety Honor Roll and Food Safety Month questions to elizabeth.schill@uchd.net.


Published in Food
Tuesday, 03 September 2013 16:03

Food Safety

Food Safety is Important

 1 in 6  people gets food poisoning. CDC Vital Signs™:  www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns

Union County Health Department (UCHD) takes food safety seriously. The CDC estimates that each year, 1 in 6 Americans gets sick by eating or drinking contaminated foods or drinks. That adds up to 48 million people resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths from food poisoning, also called foodborne illnesses every year! The majority of foodborne illnesses are preventable and harmful effects range from flu-like symptoms to hospitalization or even death.

Click here for Food Safety for Operators

Here at Union County Health Department we work hard to prevent and respond to food safety issues. 

Because no one wants foodborne bacteria as a dinner guest!


Protect those you love by following safe food practices at home:


FoodSafe Box


Foodsafety.gov logo for "Clean"CLEAN: Wash hands and surfaces often.

Illness-causing bacteria can survive in many places around your kitchen, including your hands, utensils, and cutting boards.

  • Wash hands the right way—for 20 seconds with soap and running water. Be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Wash surfaces and utensils after each use. Rinsing utensils, countertops, and cutting boards with water won’t do enough to stop bacteria from spreading. Clean utensils and small cutting boards with hot, soapy water. Clean surfaces and cutting boards with a bleach solution.
  • Wash fruits and veggies—but not meat, poultry, or eggs. Even if you plan to peel fruits and veggies, it’s important to wash them first because bacteria can spread from the outside to the inside as you cut or peel them.



Foodsafety.gov logo for "Separate"SEPARATE: Don't cross-contaminate.

Even after you’ve cleaned your hands and surfaces thoroughly, raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can still spread illness-causing bacteria to ready-to-eat foods—unless you keep them separate.



Foodsafety.gov logo for "Cook"COOK: Cook to the right temperature.

While many people think they can tell when food is “done” simply by checking its color and texture, there’s no way to be sure it’s safe without following a few important but simple steps.

  • Use a food thermometer. Make sure food reaches its safe minimum cooking temperature. For example, internal temperatures should be 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating), 160°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry. Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm.
  • During meal times, while food is being served and eaten, keep it hot (at 140 ˚F or above). After meals are over, refrigerate leftover food quickly.
  • Microwave food thoroughly (to 165 ˚F). 


Foodsafety.gov logo for "Chill"CHILL: Refrigerate promptly.

Illness-causing bacteria can grow in many foods within two hours unless you refrigerate them. (During the summer heat, cut that time down to one hour.)



woman reporting foodborne illness on phoneREPORT: If you believe you or someone you know became ill from eating a certain food, please contact your local health department.

Health departments are an important part of the food safety system which rely on calls from concerned citizens. You can be an important part of discovering what foods made you and others sick.

  • If a public health official contacts you to find out more about an illness you had, your cooperation is important. Be willing to be interviewed about the foods you ate before you got sick; share your store receipts and give permission for stores to share the list of food you purchased from their store; and allow investigators to come to your home to collect any leftover food you may have.
  • In public health investigations, it can be as important to talk to healthy people as to ill people. Even if you are not ill, be willing to be interviewed about the foods you ate during a certain period of time.
  • REMEMBER: It's not usually the last meal you ate that made you sick. Foodborne pathogens usually require incubation times of 12-72 hours. 

For more information on preventing foodborne illnesses, please visit FoodSafety.gov, the federal gateway for food safety information.

Content provided by the CDC and FoodSafety.gov



*This September, UCHD is joining forces with forces with the National Restaurant Association, the Ad Council and the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, in partnership with the FDA and CDC to increase awareness of food safety in both food service establishments and homes in Union County.

 Look out for promotional ads throughout the community targeting consumers and food operators to be mindful of safe food handling practices and procedures. Continue to check our website as we keep you updated on ways to reduce your family's risk of foodborne illness.



Who's at Risk for Foodborne Illness- Know who in your family has the greatest danger of foodborne illness and take extra precautions. 

Produce- An apple a day keeps the doctor away..." be mindful of safe food practices when you enjoy your favorite fruit or vegetable. 

Home Canning- Up to date procedures  to ensure a high-quality, safe product that you and your family can enjoy.





Published in Home
Tuesday, 27 August 2013 20:08

Keeping You Safe when Eating Out

Ever wondered who works to keep you safe?...
         Take a look to find out who works hard to keep you healthy and happy. 


Union County Health Department (UCHD)

UCHD's mission is to protect the health, safety and well-being of all Union County by providing quality public health services. The Environmental Health division of UCHD works in collaboration with food service operators to ensure safe food service practices and procedures are observed.

UCHD keeps you safe by:

  • Inspecting all restaurants, school cafeterias, and grocery stores two times a year
  • Inspecting all mobile food units and temporary food units in Union County
  • Promptly responding to valid complaints from the public
  • Posting recent inspection reports on our website for public viewing

For a healthier and happier community UCHD works to:

  • Promote good personal hygiene of food operators
  • Prevent cross-contamination
  • Control time and temperature of foods
  • Regulate proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures



How do I report a foodborne illness?


If you believe you or someone you know became ill from eating a certain food, please contact your county or city health department and tell them you would like to report a foodborne illness. Reporting illnesses to your local health department helps them identify potential foodborne disease outbreaks. By investigating foodborne disease outbreaks, public health officials learn about possible problems in food production, distribution and preparation that may cause illness.



Other Agencies Keeping You Safe...


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (www.fsis.usda.gov) is the public health regulatory agency in USDA responsible for ensuring that meat, poultry, and processed egg products are safe, wholesome, and accurately labeled.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC works 24/7 to save lives, protect people from health threats, and save money resulting in a more secure nation. CDC puts science and prevention into action to make the healthy choice the easy choice. CDC helps people live longer and healthier to lead productive lives.

Published in Health
Monday, 12 March 2012 18:24

Does Your Kitchen Make the Grade?

A quiz developed by the Los Angeles County Public Health Department helps home cooks discover if their kitchen would pass a restaurant inspection. The quiz focuses on food safety and proper food handling practices. Click on the link below to take the quiz and see if kitchen might need some improvements to protect your family from food borne illnesses.

Home Kitchen Quiz

Published in In the News