Holiday Food Safety Tips from the Cleveland Department of Public Health

Holiday Food Safety Tips from the Cleveland Department of Public Health

Since so much of our holiday cheer and spirit centers on sharing good food with friends and family, we encourage you to follow these simple food safety tips to prevent your loved ones or you from developing a case of “Bah Humbug!” this holiday season.


Ten Holiday Food Safety Tips

Shop at the West Side Market for all your holiday dishes!

Open: Mon, Wed: 7AM – 4PM | Fri & Sat: 7AM – 6PM

Ten Holiday Home Food Safety Tips

  1. Wash hands before, during and after food preparation for at least 20 seconds.  Remember to wash hands between switching tasks such as handling raw meat and then cutting vegetables.
  2. Keep kitchen surfaces such as appliances, countertops, cutting boards and utensils clean throughout meal preparation by properly washing, rinsing and applying an approved sanitizer.
  3. Always use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and fish and ready to eat foods like fruits and vegetables.  Using color-coded cutting boards makes the task at hand easy to remember.
  4. Use separate utensils to taste, stir and serve food. Remember, NO double-dipping!!
  5. Use a food thermometer.  It is the ONLY reliable way to determine whether that “bird” and other foods are cooked to the proper temperature.  Remember to cook your turkey to at least 1650 Never rely on “clear juices” to signal when your “goose (er….turkey) is cooked.”
  6. Refrigerate food within two hours of being served to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning.
  7. Use a refrigerator thermometer and make sure it is set at or below 410
  8. Never allow foods to thaw at room temperature, on the counter or in warm water.  Thaw food only in the refrigerator or in the microwave oven.  When thawing food in the refrigerator, remember to cover raw meat and place it on the bottom shelf so juices won’t drip onto other foods.  When thawing food in the microwave, cook it immediately afterward.
  9. If taking food to parties, make sure to observe the same safety habits as at home-keep foods well-refrigerated and cook them to proper temperatures.
  10. When baking, avoid eating foods containing raw eggs like cookie dough or cake batter.  Raw eggs may contain harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning. Finally, anyone suspected of having had gastrointestinal illness (sometimes called “stomach flu”) should not prepare meals for others.

Cooked Food Temperature Chart

Food Temperature Maintain Temperature For
Greens and beans (no meat) 1350F 15 seconds
Steaks, chops or roasts (pork, beef, veal or lamb) 1450F 15 seconds; 4 minutes
Ground meats (except poultry) 1550F 15 seconds
Poultry (chicken, duck, or turkey) 1650F 15 seconds


Sign Up Today for the 12th Annual Cleveland Senior Walk

Sign up today for the Cleveland Department of Aging’s 12th Annual Senior Walk! The Cleveland Senior Walk is a free, outdoor, community event that encourages good health and physical activity for older adults. Senior Walk participants receive a free t-shirt, healthy snacks, and valuable resources to maintain an active lifestyle.

Register for the walk at

Senior Walk 2016 Image for Social Media

Free Lead Poisoning Screening at Two Cleveland Recreation Centers

Lead poisoning can be prevented and is a serious public health concern facing children. The City of Cleveland Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Lead Safe Living Healthy Homes will host two lead poisoning prevention and education events at local recreation centers.

On Wednesday, June 15, 2016, the first free screening event to be held at the Zelma George Recreation Center at 3155 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and on Thursday, June 16, 2016, the second free screening will be held at the Michael Zone Recreation Center at 6301 Lorain Avenue. Both events will run from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

Children under the age of six can receive free lead screenings. For more Lead Safe Living information, please call 216-664-2175 or visit

Lead Poisoning Prevention Education Events


Tobacco Sales Prohibited to Individuals Under 21

Effective Thursday, April 14, 2016, the minimum sales age for tobacco products will be twenty-one. web IMG_5333The Tobacco 21 law (Ordinance No. 737-15) was passed in December of 2015 and states that no individual may give, sell, or otherwise distribute cigarettes, other tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or papers used to roll cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21.

As part of compliance, all tobacco product retailers are required to post a sign informing customers of the minimum sales age for these items in a place that’s highly visible. If a customer looks like they may be under 30 years old, the retailer must ask for proof of age. Acceptable documents to show proof of age are a valid photo driver’s license or non-driver ID card issued by a state or other U.S. or Canadian government agency; a valid passport; or a photo ID issued by the armed forces of the United States.

Penalties for a violation are a 4th degree misdemeanor with a penalty of 30 days imprisonment and/or a $250 fine.  A subsequent violation will be classified as a 3rd degree misdemeanor carrying a penalty of 60 days imprisonment and/or a $500 fine.

The Tobacco 21 law was passed after a recent report by the Ohio State University College of Public Health indicated that raising the minimum age to buy and sell cigarettes and other tobacco products to twenty-one would save lives by preventing adolescents and young adults from ever taking up smoking. Nearly all adult smokers began smoking by the age of eighteen and almost no one starts smoking after twenty-one.

For more information, visit



Registration Open for the 2015 Cleveland Senior Walk

The Department of Aging is proud to announce open registration for the 11th Annual Cleveland Senior Walk! The Cleveland Senior Walk is a free, outdoor, community event that encourages good health and physical activity for older adults. Senior Walk participants receive a free t-shirt, healthy snacks, and valuable resources to maintain an active lifestyle.

The event will take place on Wednesday, September 23, at 10:00 am on Mall C in Downtown Cleveland. To register, please fill out the bottom part of the flyer below or visit the Cleveland Department of Aging online.

For more information, call the Cleveland Department of Aging at 216-664-2833.

11th Annual Cleveland Senior Walk Registration Form 

Senior Walk Flyer 2015

Winter Weather Advisory Issued to Cleveland Seniors and Public Health Tips for Extreme Cold

The Director of Aging and City of Cleveland Emergency Management services have issued a W.A.R.N. (Wide Area Rapid Notification) message to City of Cleveland older adults regarding the forecasted continual freezing temperatures.

WARN message issued on February 19, 2015. Listen here.


Audio script:

“This is Jane Fumich, Director of the Cleveland Department of Aging. Winter weather is upon us. For your safety, please keep the following winter weather tips in mind and share them with your older neighbors, friends and loved ones.

Severe cold makes you more susceptible to hypothermia, a condition in which your body temperature drops below normal.

Director of Aging, Jane Fumich

Director of  the Cleveland Department of Aging, Jane Fumich

  • If you must go outside, use proper footwear, wear warm clothes and dress in layers.
  • When going out, cover your mouth to avoid getting cold air in your lungs.
  • If your clothes get wet, change them as soon as possible.
  • Do not turn off the heat to save money; instead, you can close off rooms not being used to conserve heat.
  • If using portable heaters keep them at least 3 feet away from furniture and draperies to decrease risk of a fire. 
  • Test your smoke detectors to make sure they work.
  • Make sure you have extra food, blankets and water on hand.

If you need assistance dial the numbers 211 and you will reach United Way. For a life threatening emergency dial 911.  

The Director of Aging and her staff work regularly with seniors throughout the city and have found that these alerts are beneficial to informing our older adult population with critical information. “Seniors are especially sensitive to the cold and freezing temperatures and this weather can be exceptionally difficult for them,” said Director Fumich. “We hope that alerts like these help our seniors and those that care for them to stay safe and healthy.”

Public Health tips for dealing with the extreme cold 

The best way to fight off the cold is to stay indoors, with heat! If your home is inadequately heated, go to a neighbor’s or relative’s house, or one of the City of Cleveland warming centers. Keep these other tips in mind to stay safe and healthy during cold:

  • If you must go out, bundle up in layers and keep a hat on that head!
  • Keep dry. If you get wet, change out of any wet clothing quickly to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and drink warm, non-alcoholic beverages. Get medical help as soon as possible.
  • Make sure your car and home are ready for winter.

No matter what the weather, always have weather appropriate emergency kits handy at home and in your car and know the emergency plans for work, school and places you frequent. Stay connected with weather alerts and other news sources too so you’re never caught off guard.

Cold temperatures can affect plumbing systems and cause frozen pipes for many businesses and residences. The Department of Public Utilities offers the following tips to help avoid damage, expensive repairs, frustration, and possibly a temporary loss of service to the property.

  • Before arrival of freezing temperatures, disconnect and drain outdoor hoses to allow water to drain from the pipe and faucet; insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas such as garages and crawl spaces; seal off access doors, air vents and cracks and repair broken basement windows.
  • If freezing temperatures have already set in, leave a pencil-lead-thin stream of water flowing and try to get heat into the room if it can be done safely to help prevent faucets or water service lines from freezing.
  • Identify the master shut-off valve and mark it. If a pipe bursts anywhere in your home, this valve can turn off the water and help limit further damage and costly repairs.
  • If cold temperatures do cause a frozen water line, water should be turned off at the master shut-off valve to limit damage. The best course of action is to contact a plumber or a private contractor to thaw the lines and make repairs.