Garment bags fall into the plastic film category and should be recycled, explains Vicki DiLonardo, recycling coordinator for the Putnam County Department of Health.
These items belong to the category of “plastic film” and must be taken to a drop-off location in major stores. Most items can be identified by their recycling icons and fall into two categories: Number 2 Plastics—HDPE (high density polyethylene) and Number 4 Plastics LDPE (low density polyethylene). A list of 25 drop-off sites in Putnam County is posted on the health department website: putnamcountyny.com/health

Health Department Promotes Plastic Film Recycling; 25 Drop Off Locations in Putnam

Health Department Promotes Plastic Film Recycling;

25 Drop Off Locations in Putnam

BREWSTER, NY— A staggering 100 billion plastic bags or more are thrown away each year by Americans, according to conservationists. Putnam County numbers may be impossible to get but one  thing is sure: It is far too many. That is why the New York State’s Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act went into effect back in 2009 and was updated in 2015 to add plastic films to the list of recyclable items.

“Recycling is a win-win-win scenario,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “It reduces landfill waste, reduces our demand on oil, and it reduces litter, preserving our beautiful Putnam landscape, waterways and wildlife. Plastic bags are convenient, but their harms are real. The effects of clogged drainage and flooding alone make recycling a must, and now it’s the law.”

“Less than 1 percent of plastic bags are being recycled, but we are trying to change that,” said Michael Nesheiwat, MD, Interim Commissioner of Health. “Everyone is used to recycling hard plastics, usually through curbside pick-up. However, plastic films must be recycled differently. They have to be brought to a drop off site, which all major stores should have.”

The health department has been working with stores in the county that are required by law to accept plastic films. All large retail stores, or chains with more than five smaller stores, must participate. Currently there are 25 drop-off locations in Putnam County, including Home Depot, Acme and Kohl’s. A complete list is posted online at the PCDOH website.

“Plastic film recycling may require a bit of effort at first,” continues Dr. Nesheiwat, “but only until it becomes more routine. Think of it as an investment in the future—for our children. Then it becomes a little easier.”

Plastic films include many everyday items. Newspaper delivery bags, dry cleaning bags and shrink-wrap, in addition to the commonplace “carry-out bags” are some examples. Wrap from packages of paper towels, napkins, bathroom tissues and diapers; beverage case wrapping; shipping “pillows” and bubble wrap, as well as clean bags from bread, produce and sealable food storage bags—all these items should be dropped off for recycling. It is important to know that the recycling items need not be brought back to the store where they were originally purchased. Participating stores are required to accept all items together.

Next month is America Recycles Day and the health department will be visiting local drop off sites on Tuesday, November 15, to photograph residents as part of a “Caught in the Act” Recycling Campaign. Stay tuned or go online to the health department website, as details become available in early November.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or visit the social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

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PUTNAM COUNTY HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE COLLECTION DAY SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

PUTNAM COUNTY HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE COLLECTION DAY SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

Brewster, NY -Putnam County will hold a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Day for Putnam County residents on Saturday, October 1. The Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are co-sponsoring the FREE event which is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (rain or shine) at the Putnam County Department of Health, 1 Geneva Road, Brewster, NY.

“Improper storage and disposal of hazardous waste can create health risks for our residents and their families,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We hold these events twice a year so that people can safely get rid of these toxic materials.”

Hazardous materials that can be brought to the HHW Collection Day event include: household cleaners, pesticides, herbicides, oil- based paint (not latex), automotive solvents, thinners, mothballs, rodent poisons, gasoline, kerosene, small propane tanks (up to 20 pound size), etc. Disposal items will only be accepted if they are labeled and identifiable.  Items which will not be accepted are water-based paints (latex), used oil, lead-acid or other batteries, plastic bags, tires, electronic waste or any materials from commercial establishments. For a complete list of acceptable items, please visit the county website at http://www.putnamcountyny.com/health/recycling/ . Pre-registration is required. Call the Putnam County Department of Health at (845) 808-1390, ext. 43150, with questions about the event or to pre-register.
If you would prefer to register by email, please send your three preferred times (every 15 minutes beginning
at 9 a.m.) to PutnamHealth@putnamcountyny.gov . You will be sent a confirmation with a time. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 2 business days, please call the above number. Call or email early to reserve your spot.

For information regarding electronic waste disposal, call your local town. Also, please note that household hazardous waste items will not be accepted at any of the town electronic waste drop-off locations.                                                                              

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

flu-shot

PCDOH Schedules Three Fall Flu Clinics

PCDOH Schedules Three Fall Flu Clinics

BREWSTER, NY— It’s official: the 2016-2017 flu season is here.  The Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) has scheduled three fall vaccine clinics and their skilled and experienced nurses are ready to immunize residents. The first clinic is Tuesday, September 20, from 2 to 6:30 p.m. at the Carmel Fire Department, Route 52 and Vink Drive in Carmel. The second is on Wednesday, October 19, from 2 to 6:30 p.m.at the Garrison Fire Department, 1616 Route 9; the third is Monday, October 24 from 2 to 6:30 p.m.at Carmel Fire Department again.

“Getting vaccinated early is best,” says Michael Nesheiwat, MD, Interim Commissioner of Health. “That’s because it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop and provide protection. Getting your flu shot is important for many of reasons. It keeps you healthy, and so saves money on medical and prescription costs. It also provides what’s called ‘herd immunity’ to those who can’t be vaccinated because they are too young, or have a specific medical condition, and is the socially responsible thing to do.

“Certain people should make sure they get vaccinated,” continued Dr. Nesheiwat, “because they can have serious problems if they get the flu.” For example, pregnant women, children 6 months through 18 years of age, people over 50 years of age, and those with chronic (long-lasting) medical conditions and the people who live with them—all these groups may have or cause serious results if they get the flu. Health care workers are also required to get the flu in order to protect their patients.

The clinic is open to all Putnam County residents 18 years of age and older. The vaccination fee is $25 for residents under 65 years of age. Those 65 years and older, or with a Medicare card, can receive the vaccine free of charge. High-dose flu vaccine is being offered for seniors, aged 65 years and older, as studies show this vaccine is more effective for this population. However, at the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the FluMist will not be available. Proof of residency (driver’s license) is required. Pneumonia vaccine will also not be available through the Health Department’s public flu clinics.

Appointments are not necessary, but a signed consent form is required. Forms will be available on the Putnam County website at http://www.putnamcountyny.com/health/immunization

In order to streamline the onsite process, people are encouraged to download the forms, complete them and bring them to the clinic. Forms will also be available at the clinic.

Flu vaccination will be offered by the Health Department in all school districts this fall strictly for students and staff. Check your school calendar or with the school nurse for details of these school-based clinics. More public flu clinics may be held later this year. Check the PCDOH website for possible dates and further details.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our website at www.putnamcountyny.com ; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

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prepared putnam, resilient putnam only

National Preparedness Month Observed for Thirteenth Year; New Community Coalition Focuses on Safeguarding Children

National Preparedness Month Observed for Thirteenth Year; New Community Coalition Focuses on Safeguarding Children

BREWSTER, NY —“Don’t wait, communicate, make your emergency plan today” is the returning theme of National Preparedness Month which kicks off September 1. This year in Putnam County, the 13th annual observance is getting added attention with the growing efforts of the Community Resilience Coalition (CRC). Agencies from the public, private and non-profit sectors make up the CRC, which focuses on ensuring the safety and well-being of children before, during and after disasters.

“We are fortunate in Putnam County to have first responders and highway departments that take the safety and well-being of all our residents, young and old, very seriously,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Children are among the most vulnerable of our community. Anything and everything that we can do to ensure their safety and resilience in times of crisis, we must do. That’s why the work of the CRC and the recognition of National Preparedness Month are so important.”

Research has shown that since children depend on multiple residents and local services, they can be viewed as an indicator of how well a community is recovering following a disaster. This is the reason behind the CRC, part of the Resilient Children/Resilient Communities Initiative, a research project at Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness. The project is funded through a $2 million grant from GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with Save the Children. Putnam County is one of two sites in the U.S. selected to create a blueprint to keep children safe in emergencies by increasing awareness and strengthening the community. The other site is Washington County in Arkansas.

“This is a unique opportunity for Putnam to strengthen our local network which will serve as a foundation to protect and support our young,” said Michael Nesheiwat, MD, Interim Commissioner of Health. “These dedicated organizations will be building a stronger, sustainable future, but there are also things—practical things—you can do right now to help in the effort in a very personal way.”

For example, most people view emergency preparedness as a huge job, but taking one, first step can make a big difference. Creating an ICE (in case of emergency) card, having emergency supplies on hand, and making a plan to meet or reconnect are some of the easy steps a family can take. Two of the best resources for taking that first step are at www.savethechildren.org/getready and  www.ready.gov.

“Getting accurate information during an event is also key,” explains Anthony Sutton, Commissioner of the Bureau of Emergency Services (BES), “and NY Alert is a good way to start.” This free service from New York State sends both local and state emergency messages. Individuals who sign up can get real-time information about current threats sent to their cell phones. People pick what types of information they want and how they get it, either by email or text. They can change or cancel the alerts at any time. Personal information is completely protected and never shared. Sign up at www.nyalert.gov.

“Residents who wish to help with a community-wide response to emergencies, should consider joining the Medical Reserve Corps,” says Dr. Nesheiwat. “Putnam’s MRC still needs all types of volunteers, both non-medical and medical. For example, help is always needed with important logistical

support or administrative tasks.” Interested residents can find out more information by visiting the Putnam County website or calling the health department at 845-808-1390.

mosquitoday2016

July 12 was Mosquito Control Day in Putnam County

July 12 was Mosquito Control Day in Putnam County. Public Health Sanitarian Mike Luke shows Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Michael Nesheiwat, MD, Interim Health Commissioner, right, and Eric Gross, left, the mosquito larvae he had collected from a storm drain. One had developed into an adult flying mosquito in the jar in just a few short days. That is why it is so important for residents to dump all standing water.

The health department is deploying mosquito traps around the county and will send samples for testing at the NYS Wadsworth Lab in Albany. Two questions need to be answered: What mosquitos are in Putnam and what diseases, if any, do they carry? The only known transmitter of Zika virus is the the Aedes aegypti and it has never been found in Putnam. The Asian Tiger mosquito, the Aedes albopictus, has only been captured once here back in 2006, but it is still questionable whether or not it can transmit the Zika virus.

County Executive MaryEllen Odell reminds everyone that public support is an important and necessary part of any mosquito control program. Mosquito Control Day is a call to action for residents to dump standing water on their property now—and weekly throughout the summer, especially after a rainfall. Personal protection, in the form of mosquito repellant with DEET, is also highly advised. The event was videotaped. To see a recap of the event go to: https://youtu.be/WeOpf39PCJw

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Blue-Green Algae Arrives Early in Putnam County

Blue-Green Algae Arrives Early in Putnam County

BREWSTER, NY— Algal blooms have arrived early in Putnam County lakes this year, due to the recent mild winter. So far this year, at least six beaches have been closed due to harmful growth. Algae can be more than a simple nuisance and may present a serious health hazard. Residents should be cautious when swimming, boating, or even just cooling off in waters with any algae.

“Blue-green algae present special problems,” explains Michael Nesheiwat, MD, Interim Commissioner of Health. “This type is a toxin-producing cyanobacteria, which if swallowed is harmful to humans and animals. At high levels, it can cause nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. It can also cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory tract.”

Some algae are harmless and in fact are an important part of the food web. However certain types grow quickly and form blooms, which can cover all or portions of a lake. Because it is hard to tell a harmful algal bloom from a harmless one, it is best to avoid swimming, boating or otherwise playing in or drinking water with a bloom.

Robert Morris, PE, MPH, director of environmental health at the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH), says, “To be safe residents should avoid contact with any water that has a floating covering or scum on its surface, is discolored or has an unpleasant odor. Blue-green algae can form a thick mat on the water surface resembling paint. It can also range in colors from green, blue, brown, yellow, grey, or even red. It has been a significant problem in Putnam County in recent years, as elsewhere.”

The Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) closely monitors permitted bathing beaches, performing periodic checks at regular weekly or biweekly intervals, depending on the situation. The PCDOH also responds to calls from town and village personnel. Town officials must close a beach when there is visible presence of blue-green algae and they work closely with the PCDOH to reopen the beach as soon as the bloom clears. This process was streamlined last year when the PCDOH began expedited, on-site testing at the main office. Previously, samples were sent to an outside lab and results could take three to four days.

While not all algal blooms are hazardous, the PCDOH recommends the following precautions for all of them:

  • Avoid or limit exposure to water when these algal blooms occur. Swimming, water-skiing, wading, playing by the water, etc., may cause accidental swallowing, skin exposure, or inhalation of airborne droplets. Use added caution with open cuts or sores.
  • Do not allow young children or pets to play in water where an algal bloom is present.
  • Wash hands and body thoroughly if any exposure occurs.
  • Do not use any water from lakes with algal blooms for drinking unless treated through a municipal water treatment plant.

 

There are water treatments to reduce the blooms in lakes but prevention is by far the best tactic. Treatments can involve the use of algaecides, but they have the same precautions as any pesticide.  Treatment methods, if any, are strictly a town decision, and application of an algaecide requires approval by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).  Prevention involves community-wide efforts to reduce fertilizer use, keep septic systems running efficiently and manage storm water.

When the water clears, either naturally or by treatment, water testing must be conducted to ensure resident safety. Toxins can still be present even after the bloom looks like it has passed. Only after a satisfactory result on a water test can town personnel re-open the beach.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or visit the social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.  # # #

mosquitocontrolbanner

July 12 Set as Mosquito Control Day in Putnam;

July 12 Set as Mosquito Control Day in Putnam;

Zika Education Bags Arrive at Town Halls

BREWSTER, NY—Tuesday, July 12, has been designated “Mosquito Control Day” by County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD, Interim Commissioner of Health, calling residents to action to dump all standing water on their property. Zika “education bags” are being delivered to local town offices and will be available for pick-up next week. Each bag contains information about mosquito control and Zika virus, and two mosquito “dunks.” These donut-shaped mosquito control products are made from a biological larvicide that kills mosquitoes before they are old enough to bite. A limited number of free bags, which also include a sample DEET wipe, are available for Putnam County residents.

“Public support is an important and necessary part of any mosquito control program,” said County Executive Odell. “Residents should check their yards and dump all standing water that can be removed. If the water cannot be easily emptied, consider using a mosquito dunk. This will help reduce the mosquito population.” County Executive Odell, together with Town supervisors, has been working with the health department to plan and provide the latest guidance about reducing the potential for local spread of the Zika virus in Putnam County.

“Another crucial strategy is to prevent mosquito bites,” said Dr. Neisheiwat. “Apply an EPA- approved insect repellant (such as those containing DEET), and dress in long sleeves and pants which may be unpleasant on hot and humid summer days. Fortunately the mosquito which could prove to be a local carrier of the Zika virus is not currently in Putnam.”

The Zika bags can be picked up at the following town hall locations, during their usual business hours, as long as supplies last:

Carmel, 60 McAlpin Avenue, Mahopac, NY 10541; Phone:  845-628-1500

Kent, 25 Sybil’s Crossing, Kent Lakes, NY 10512; Phone: 845-225-3943

Patterson, 1142 Route 311, Patterson, NY 12563; Phone: 845-878-6500

Philipstown, 238 Main Street, Cold Spring, NY 10516; Phone: 845-265-3329

Putnam Valley, 265 Oscawana Lake Road, Putnam Valley, NY 10579; Phone: 845-526-2121

Southeast, 1360 Route 22, Brewster, NY 10509; Phone: 845-279-2196

 

A limited supply is also available at the Putnam County Department of Health, 1 Geneva Road, Brewster, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or visit the social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth, and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

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Health Department and Hospital to Residents: You Talk, We Listen! TAKE OUR SURVEY!

Take the survey. Tell us what you think about community strengths, and health-related issues and concerns.

The Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is being updated by the Putnam County Department of Health, Putnam Hospital Center and other public health system partners. The input of residents and those who work in Putnam is also important to this process.

Your responses to the survey, along with other community assessments, will help create a strong Community Health Improvement Plan.

 

Health Department and Hospital to Residents: You Talk, We Listen

BREWSTER, NY— Putnam County residents are being asked to share their thoughts and opinions to make the community a better place to live and work. The Putnam County Department of Health is partnering with Putnam Hospital Center to launch a “community asset survey” to gain insight into what the public thinks are the greatest strengths of the community and where the gaps exist so resources can be directed adequately to develop a healthier community. Already more than 300 residents have expressed their views, but everyone who lives or works in Putnam County is invited to voice their opinions. The quick and anonymous survey is on the homepage of the Putnam County website at www.putnamcountyny.com and will run until July 31. The direct link is: http://tinyurl.com/Community-Asset-Survey.

“This is a chance to let us know where you think improvement efforts should focus,” explained Michael Nesheiwat, MD, Interim Commissioner of Health for the Putnam County. “This survey is an integral step in developing our community health assessment, which looks at an array of socio-economic factors that affect health,” Dr. Nesheiwat continued, “and the results help form the basis for our Community Health Improvement Plan.”

From start to finish, the survey has 13, easy-to-answer questions that can be completed in five to ten minutes. The first asks respondents to choose the county’s greatest strengths from a list that includes broad factors such as low crime, a clean and healthy environment and public transportation. The second presents a similar list, but asks where improvement efforts should focus. The third question concentrates on specific health issues in the county, and the next two questions ask about how the person gets his or her health care. The remaining eight questions collect simple demographic data such as zip code, age and ethnicity.

Putnam County businesses and other organizations that wish to ensure their employees’ opinions are counted can contact the health department at 845-808-1390 or are encouraged to email the survey link directly to their employees.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of Putnam County residents through prevention of illness and injury. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our website at www.putnamcountyny.com; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

Boyd Well Drillers repair

Water Emergency in Mahopac; County Executive and Health Department Step In

Water Emergency in Mahopac; County Executive and Health Department Step In

BREWSTER, NY— A public health emergency was in the making according to Interim Health Commissioner Michael Nesheiwat, MD. On Thursday, with the Chateau Ridge well water system in Mahopac barely functioning and with no hope of immediate repair, County Executive MaryEllen Odell authorized an emergency delivery of 6,000 gallons of water to be delivered to the water storage tanks for Chateau Ridge.

“We have been monitoring the overall situation,” explains Dr. Nesheiwat. “From a water safety perspective, the water quality has been fine. This week all thirteen water districts serviced by Forest Park Water Company had been put on water conservation restrictions until further notice in order to avert a potential major water outage. Up until now, only some districts and their residents have had to contend with water shortages, resulting from the various problems with the water systems.”

“With this health emergency, we needed a short-term and a long-term solution,” said County Executive Odell. “We needed water out there immediately and we got it there in a matter of hours. I have further called upon our law department, and with the assistance of Senator Terrance Murphy, we have reached out to the New York State Public Service Commission to help expedite the sale of Forest Park Water Company that has allowed this unacceptable situation.” The sale to United Water Company is currently slated to take place in September.

On Thursday, one of the two wells at the Chateau Ridge water supply stopped producing water. Forest Park Water Company could not arrange for repair because their payment could not be guaranteed, causing an emergency situation. When the functioning well could not keep up with demand, Mr. Cody Barticciotto, from CEMCO, the current water supply operator put in overtime. According to residents, Mr. Barticciotto spent two nights at the Chateau Ridge pump house trying to maintain the system. Additionally Henry Boyd, of Henry Boyd Well Drillers, has stepped in at the request of the health department, to provide an emergency repair without knowing when payment would be made.

As of early Friday afternoon, workers from Boyd Well Drillers had replaced the well pump and removed one bad section of line of the broken well. Currently this well is producing 60 gallons a minute. As of 3 p.m., both wells are functioning and the system is back on line.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or visit the social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth, and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

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Summer Activities Increase Risk for Foodborne Illness; PCDOH Advises “When in Doubt, Throw it Out”

Summer Activities Increase Risk for Foodborne Illness;
PCDOH Advises “When in Doubt, Throw it Out”

Brewster, NY – Each year, 1 in 6 people get food poisoning nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meaning approximately 48 million Americans get sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages, and 3,000 of them die. With warm weather here, more cooking will be done on the grill and more coolers packed for picnics, presenting additional challenges to ensure food safety. Food may be improperly prepped, cooked, stored, or simply left out in the sun too long, creating opportunities for bacteria to grow. In 2012 Putnam County experienced its largest food-related illness outbreak, effecting approximately 150 individuals, due to food being kept at an improper temperature for an extended period of time.

“Residents can protect themselves with thorough cooking and proper refrigeration of perishable foods,” says Interim Health Commissioner Michael Nesheiwat, MD. “Illness-causing microorganisms can be present in a number of foods, so keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.”

Rules to follow consistently to protect against foodborne illness include:

  • Cook meat to at least 130ºF (for a rare steak), chicken to 165ºF, hamburger to 158 ºF and fish to 140ºF. Do not rely on the color of the meat juices for determining doneness. Instead, check the food’s internal temperature with a stem thermometer in the center.
  • Refrigerators should be set at 40°F or slightly lower to store foods including eggs, milk, meats, chicken, seafood, cooked leftovers, gravies, soups, or products with these ingredients. Discard food if temperature exceeds 40°F for longer than two hours.
  • Fruits, vegetables, juices, and cheeses may be stored above 40°F for a limited time. Check appearance, odor, texture and color before serving or eating.
  • Use a stem thermometer to ensure foods are at the correct temperature when storing, serving, or checking for doneness.
  • If food is to be held longer than two hours before eating, keep hot foods at 140°F or higher, and cold foods at 40°F or lower.
  • To keep foods hot, use a heat source underneath the food, and to keep foods chilled,

have the cooling source/ice packs on top of foods.

  • Refrigerate leftovers immediately after cooling. Use a wide shallow container for faster cooling. Reheat leftovers only once to 165°F or above.
  • Select frozen and refrigerated products last when shopping. Refrigerate or freeze these items immediately on arriving home.
  • Cook from frozen, or defrost in the refrigerator. Never thaw frozen foods at room temperature.
  • If uncertain whether a food item should be eaten, follow this rule: WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT.

Kitchen and personal cleanliness is important year-round:

  • Wash hands and under fingernails thoroughly with hot water and soap before preparing food and after handling raw fish, meats and poultry.
  • Wash and sanitize sponges and dishrags in the dishwasher, or sanitize them by heating in the microwave on high for at least one minute.
  • Wash and sanitize any surface that comes in contact with food. To make a sanitizing solution, place a capful of bleach in a gallon of water and use for wiping down food surfaces. Rinse with clean water after sanitizing. Ideally, refrigerators should be cleaned at least once a week.

For more information, call the Putnam County Department of Health’s Food Safety Program at (845) 808-1390.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.