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FAQ Food Safety

How can I tell if my food is completely cooked?

  • Cook all chicken and all poultry items, stuffed meat or stuffed fish, and exotic meats to 165° F
  • Cook ground beef, ground pork and raw egg dishes to 155° F
  • Cook fish and all other foods 145°F


What can I do to be sure that the food I serve is safe for my family?

  • Keep cooked food hot at 135°F or higher
  • Keep your refrigerator below 41°F
  • Don’t leave food on the table for more than 4 hours
  • Remember to keep hot food hot and cold food cold

Clean hands are a must

  • Wash your hands, wash your hands and wash your hands!
  • Limit bare hand contact with foods that do not need cooking (cookies, chips, bread etc.)
  • Use napkins, spatulas, tongs, wax paper, etc. to limit contacting your food with your bare hands

Foodborne Illness

Doctors and hospitals are required to report cases of foodborne illness to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health so that we can follow up with the sick patients to try to determine where the illness may have started.

A food history is taken so that we can look at what foods were eaten by the person or people who became sick. Any stores or restaurants the ill person purchased food from are contacted and sometimes inspected to determine if they might be the cause of an illness or outbreak, which is defined as two or more cases of illness caused by the same food.

The most common foodborne illness in Cuyahoga County is Norovirus, which is highly contagious. Frequent, thorough hand washing with warm soapy water helps to prevent the spread of this disease and many others.

If you have diarrhea or vomiting symptoms, please do not prepare food, wash dishes or provide patient care for others. Keep them safe from this illness by making sure you are healthy before resuming these activities.

To report a foodborne illness:
Call 216.201.2000

Food Poisoning

What are the symptoms of a food-borne illness?

Visit the CDC website to learn more

Food Storage Guidelines

How should I store food in my refrigerator?

  • Keep your raw food at the bottom of your refrigerator and separate from ready-to-eat foods
  • Keep your refrigerator at 40 F or colder.  Install a hanging thermometer.

How long can I keep foods and still consider them safe?

Visit the USDA Food and Safety website to learn more

Visit the website


What should I do with leftovers and how should I reheat them?

  • Refrigerate all doggy bags /leftovers immediately
  • Throw out after 5 days in the refrigerator
  • Don’t put hot food in the refrigerator. Cool rapidly first.
  • Cool down foods in small portions
  • Reheat all leftovers quickly

How should I thaw food – in the refrigerator, on the counter or in the sink?

  • In the refrigerator
  • Under cold running water in the sink
  • As part of the cooking
  • In the microwave for right away cooking

What is the difference between “use by, sell by, and best when purchased by”?

Visit web page.

Outdoor Dining

How long can my food sit out at a picnic?

  • Handling Food Safely While Eating Outdoors

How long can my food be kept safely on ice in a cooler chest?

Food Safety During a Power Outage

How can I ensure my food is safe during a power outage or other emergency?