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Prevent Food-Borne Illness During The Summer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Monday, June 23, 2014
Bill Chalcraft, (605) 773-3361 


Prevent Food-Borne Illness During The Summer


PIERRE, S.D. – The warm weather and sunny skies make summer the perfect time for picnics, cookouts, and outdoor activities with friends and family. However, foodborne bacteria thrive off of this type of environment. Anytime the temperature is above 40⁰F, bacteria in food multiply faster. “To prevent illness and protect loved ones from foodborne diseases, it is important to take proper safety precautions when handling food this summer,” said Bill Chalcraft, health protection administrator for the Department of Health.


Chalcraft recommended the following steps for cooking outdoor meals:

  • Start with hand-washing. Use moist disposable towelettes if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Refrigerate or freeze leftover food promptly. Don’t let perishable foods sit out longer than two hours; no more than one if temperatures are above 90⁰F.
  • Keep raw foods separate from cooked foods. If a plate held raw meat, don’t use it again without first washing it in hot, soapy water.
  • Marinate foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter or outdoors, and don't reuse marinade. For use as a sauce, set some aside before adding food.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure food is cooked thoroughly. Cook hamburgers to 160ºF and chicken to at least 165ºF.
  • Keep hot food hot (140ºF or above) and cold food cold (40ºF or below).


In 2013, South Dakota reported nearly 500 cases of the food-borne illnesses E. coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter. To date in 2014, nearly 80 cases of such illnesses have been reported. These diseases can also be spread directly by farm animals and their manure.


Symptoms of these bacterial infections include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes fever. Some people may need fluids to prevent dehydration but most will recover at home without medication.


Learn more on the department site, doh.sd.gov/food/, or the FDA site at www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm094562.htm.   


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Strengthening the state’s response to current and emerging health threats is a key objective of the department’s 2020 initiative.