Oct 02

National Food Safety Education Month

Posted on October 2, 2023 at 7:40 AM by Kiah Weston

The Henry and Stark County Health Departments' Environmental Health Division announces that September has been designated National Food Safety Education Month.  National Food Safety Education Month focuses on new technologies, trends, and regulations that are changing the foodservice landscape and the steps everyone should take to ensure that food safety remains a top priority when dealing with these changes. 

 The Environmental Health Staff with the Health Department state, “National Food Safety Education Month is the one month out of the year dedicated to food safety education.  This year we would like to remind the community to ensure you and your family are purchasing food from licensed, reputable businesses who follow health department guidelines.  We continually conduct routine food inspections, and now residents are able to view these inspections on our website and check if someone is indeed licensed.”

 Food Safety Education Month also provides an opportunity to raise awareness about steps each of us can take to prevent food poisoning and show others how to keep food safe.  Every year, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from eating contaminated food. Anyone can get sick from a foodborne illness (also called food poisoning). But some groups of people are more likely to get sick and to have a more serious illness. These groups are:

  • Adults aged 65 and older
  • Children younger than 5
  • People with health problems or who take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness
  • Pregnant women

There are things you can do to protect yourself and your family. As you prepare and handle food, follow these four steps:


  • Clean: Wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces often when you cook.
  • Separate: Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread germs. Separate them from cooked food and fresh produce.
  • Cook: Use a food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to an internal temperature that kills germs.
  •  Chill: Refrigerate perishable foods and leftovers within two hours. Chill within one hour if it’s above 90°F.

For more information on food safety contact the Health Department at (309) 852-0197 or email us at eh@henrystarkhealth.org or visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments or Follow Us on Twitter and Instagram.

Aug 21

World Water Week Aug 23- Sep 1

Posted on August 21, 2023 at 2:23 PM by Kiah Weston

The Henry and Stark County Health Departments' Environmental Health Division notes that August 20-24, 2023 is designated World Water Week.  World Water Week 2023 is focused on innovation at a time of unprecedented challenges. The 2023 theme “Seeds of Change: Innovative Solutions for a Water-Wise World” invites us to rethink how we manage water.

 Henry and Stark County Health Department officials note that World Water Week helps us view water in new and fascinating ways. We focus on the value of water, from many different perspectives. Life, as we know it, would be impossible without water.  And, for our area residents - more specifically - ground water.  It is the world’s most extracted natural resource.  Don’t take groundwater for granted.  Therefore, this designation is also a platform to encourage yearly water well testing and well maintenance.

 World Water Week was designed to urge each of us to consider various ways to protect our most valuable natural resource.  So remember about not running water while you brush your teeth.  Or about getting that leaking faucet fixed.  Or about the farmers that rely on groundwater to grow the food we eat.  And remember to have your well inspected to protect your drinking water system.

 Henry & Stark County Health Department Environmental Health staff state, "Through World Water Week, we would like to recommend to area residents that maybe it's time for your annual water well checkup!"

 Why is it a good idea to have my water well checked annually?  The truth is an annual checkup is the best way to ensure problem-free service and quality water.  Also, preventative maintenance usually is less costly than emergency maintenance, and good well maintenance, like good car maintenance, can prolong the life of your well and related equipment. We further recommend you test your water whenever there is a change in taste, odor, or appearance, or when the system is serviced.

 Schedule your annual water well checkup.  Wells can provide high-quality drinking water, and about half the U.S. population receives its drinking water from wells. But with well ownership comes the responsibility of keeping the water well in good working order.

 The Environmental Health staff recommend that well owners:

  • Keep hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and motor oil far away from your well, and maintain a "clean" zone of at least 50 feet between your well and any kennels and livestock operations.
  • Maintain proper separation between your well and buildings, waste systems, and chemical storage areas.
  • Maintain your waste water systems.
  • Periodically check the well cover or well cap on top of the casing (well) to ensure it is in good repair and securely attached. Its seal should keep out insects and rodents.
  • Keep your well records in a safe place. These include the construction report, and annual water well system maintenance and water testing results.
  • Make sure abandoned well are sealed properly within 30 days of abandonment.

 For more information on the Health Departments' Water Program, water testing and sealing abandoned wells, contact the Health Department at (309) 852-0197 Main Office.  You can also visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments or Follow Us On Twitter and Instagram.

Jul 24

Food Safety During a Power Outage!

Posted on July 24, 2023 at 8:09 AM by Kiah Weston

The Henry and Stark County Health Departments note that refrigerators and freezers are two of the home's most indispensable servants.  Therefore, when the power fails, or when the appliance breaks down, we often panic.  If your power goes out, knowing what to do with the food in your refrigerator and freezer can help you stay healthy.  The last thing you need after a weather emergency is a case of food poisoning.

If your power fails, the Health Department reminds you that all need not be lost, and they suggest the following hints to help you keep your cool.

  • If the power fails, always keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed.  Never open them just to "check things out."  You'll lose precious cool air and make matters worse.
  • If you choose to place ice in and around refrigerator items, make certain you also insert enough containers to catch what melts, and don't allow foods to sit in water for any length of time.

The Environmental Health Services Staff note "An unopened full freezer will keep foods frozen for up to 2 full days.  If it's necessary to add ice to the freezer, make certain you handle it only with adequate ventilation and while wearing protective gloves."  

They add, "When power is restored, check all foods, fresh or frozen, to determine safety.  Discard any food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture, or feels warm to the touch.  Remember the saying, "When in doubt, throw it out." 

 For more information of food safety, contact the Environmental Health Division of the Henry and Stark County Health Department at (309) 852-0197 or visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments or Follow Us on Twitter and Instagram.

Power Outage Food Safety FB