February 7, 1996
NEW FOOD SAFETY REGULATIONS SAFEGUARD CONSUMERS
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- New retail food store regulations designed to safeguard
consumers from the threat of foodborne illness have been enacted by the
Illinois Department of Public Health, Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health
director, announced today.
"An estimated 1.2 million people in our state become ill annually from
consuming microorganisms in food, many of which could be eliminated through
proper cooking and food handling techniques," Dr. Lumpkin said.
"Compliance with these rules will save many from needless illness and even
Dr. Lumpkin said while these regulations govern restaurants and retail food
stores, the same cooking and handling precautions should be practiced at home.
Key provisions of the new rules now effective are --
- The internal cooking temperature of ground beef must reach 155 degrees for
15 seconds, up from a previous requirement of 140 degrees, or the ground beef
must be cooked according to an approved alternative cooking process. The higher
temperature ensures meat is cooked until gray or brown throughout, the juices
run clear and the inside is hot. This change was instituted in part due to the
threat of E. coli 0157:H7, an emerging foodborne pathogen resistant to lower
cooking temperatures. Unless specifically ordered to be raw or pink, all
hamburgers served by fast food or other restaurants will be well done.
- Other foods, such as poultry; stuffed fish, meat or pasta; or stuffing
containing fish, meat or poultry must be cooked to 165 degrees or above for at
least 15 seconds. Not cooking to the established temperatures could result in
- Shell eggs broken or prepared for immediate serving must be thoroughly
cooked to 145 degrees or above for 15 seconds, up from the previous requirement
of 140 degrees. This cooking temperature will eliminate the serving of runny
eggs, unless so ordered by a customer. Undercooked or raw eggs may cause
- To prevent contamination, food service employees must prepare ready-to-eat
food with the least possible bare hand contact and, to the extent possible,
handle the food only with utensils, such as spatulas or tongs, or with deli
tissues or disposable gloves used for only a single task. Use of the utensils
or disposable gloves, and any handling of food shall be preceded by proper
handwashing. At least annually, food service establishments must review their
food handling operations and educate staff. Poor personal hygiene and direct
hand contact have caused foodborne outbreaks of hepatitis A, Norwalk-like viral
infections and other communicable diseases.
Starting July 1, additional food safety rules will be enacted:
- Potentially hazardous foods, such as those that consist in whole or part of
milk or milk products, eggs, meat, poultry, fish and shellfish, must be cooled
to 41 degrees or below, unless held at 45 degrees for no more than three days.
The temperatures are to be lowered to help retard multiplication of bacteria
that could reach high levels during extended storage at higher temperatures.
- Food establishments will be required -- through a brochure, menu advisory
or label, poster or other written means -- to warn consumers of the risk of
illness from eating animal food served raw or undercooked or as a raw
ingredient in another food. People considered highly susceptible to possible
foodborne pathogens from these foods are the elderly, children younger than 4
years of age, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems who suffer
from chronic illness such as cancer, diabetes, liver disease or AIDS.
"It is important for everyone to know the safest ways to prepare and
handle foods," Dr. Lumpkin said. "It is especially critical to people
who have weakened or not fully developed immune systems and their
Dr. Lumpkin said people at risk should not eat raw animal food or partially
cooked foods because they may contain parasites and bacteria that could cause
illnesses such as salmonellosis, hemorrhagic colitis and listeriosis.
To be avoided are raw foods, such as marinated fish, oysters, clams and
steak tartare; partially cooked foods, such as lightly cooked fish, rare meat
and soft cooked eggs; and foods made with raw or undercooked eggs, such as
Caesar salad, chocolate mousse or egg nog.
Dr. Lumpkin said consumers should not rely on smell or appearance to
determine if food is bad. Most often harmful bacteria and parasites do not
cause food to smell or appear bad. He said thorough cooking or pasteurization
of food from animals, prevention of cross contamination and proper handling of
food will prevent most foodborne illness problems.
Foodborne illness can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever or cramps;
symptoms most often appear within a few hours to two days after eating
Compliance with the new regulations will be monitored by local health
departments, which are responsible for food service establishment inspections.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Questions or Comments