Vacancy Announcement

Breastfeeding Peer Counselor

WIC Program

 

Salary Grade:

Not Provided

Salary Range:

$20,774 – $27,004 (Hiring Range)

Closing Date:

May 28, 2019

Position Number:

Not Provided

Location:

Rutherford County Health Department (Spindale, NC)

Description of Work:

• BFPC serves as a role model and support person for pregnant women and new mothers of Rutherford and McDowell Counties WIC program. The counselor provides education and support to women who plan to breastfeed or are currently breastfeeding. Issue breastfeeding supplies to WIC participant’s that qualify for supply.
• Assists women and babies in learning techniques of breastfeeding, including positioning and anticipatory guidance to reduce the occurrence of problems. Need to be enthusiastic about breastfeeding and help Mothers enjoy a positive experience.
• Provides consultation, clinical and emotional support to a caseload of prenatal and breastfeeding women and their families.
• Discusses appropriateness of using and assists women in obtaining breastfeeding aids if within their scope of care (breast pads, breast shells, electric and manual breast pumps, breast shields, or supplemental nutrition systems). Cleaning and sanitizes multi-user pumps.
• Assesses mother’s concerns/problems and is trained to know when referrals are appropriate following protocols targeted for the different states of breastfeeding and high-risk breastfeeding cases.
• Participates in breastfeeding continuing education training to remain current on breastfeeding information and attends staff meetings.
• Being fluent in Spanish is preferred
• Hours can be 30 or 40 hours per week

Minimum Education And Experience:

High School graduate and prior experience in a job that deals with the general public. BFPC program requires that you have breastfeed at least one baby.

Valid NC driver’s license. Must successfully complete a North Carolina Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Training program. NC Breastfeeding Competency Training Program to issue specific breastfeeding supplies.

Some knowledge of common health and safety precautions of working in local health departments. Ability to work with staff and patients, under supervision, as set up by departmental policies.

Application Process:

To apply for this position, submit the required NC state application (PD-107) to: Rutherford-Polk-McDowell District Health Department ATTN: Cindy Snyder (personnel@rpmhd.org) 221 Callahan-Koon Road Spindale, NC 28160.

 

 

 

By Jason Masters
     Environmental Health Director

Raw Oysters-Delicious or Gross?


A

Q: Hi Jason. I have a question about oysters. I love raw oysters, but I’m worried about eating them in the summer, because my Granny told me to never eat oysters in months with no “R”. Is this true? Why? Am I doomed to only eat oysters in the cold months?
-Jamie

A: Well Jamie, this is a very common question, and one that I’m glad you brought up, considering that May is the first month of the year with no “R”. (Convenient how that worked out, huh…) The old adage of not eating oysters in months with no “R” came about for very good reason. In the days of yore, when digging up your own oysters was commonplace, it was a bad idea to eat our little shelled friends in the summer months due to the red tide in warm water areas. The microscopic algae blooms of the red tide produce toxins, and introduce them into areas where shellfish are harvested, and the shellfish then absorb these toxins making them harmful to humans. The scientific community has, in recent years, decided to use the term Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) rather than “red tide”. Why? Because scientists believe they need to overcomplicate things…Red tides (or HABs) have been documented in every coastal state, and occur almost every summer in Florida.

So, should you eat oysters in the summer months? Of course! (with some caveats…) They are delicious! (so long as you get them from a reputable source…) I like mine raw, with a mignonette (men-ya-NET), and some crackers! (they can also be accompanied by lemon juice, hot sauce, garlic, or any number of stomach churning toppings…)

Today, oysters from most grocery stores and/or restaurants come from commercially harvested areas, are regulated by the FDA, and are usually from cold water climates. In addition, at least here at our Health District, and throughout North Carolina, establishments that sell and/or cook shellstock are required to maintain the tags that are attached to bags of shellstock for a minimum of 90 days , record the date of last sale, and maintain them in the establishment in chronological order, just in case anyone does get sick.
Now, with all that being said, a bigger worry about eating oysters (at least raw oysters) is Vibrio parahaemolyticus (para-HEEMA-lit-a-cuss) and Vibrio vulnificus (vul-NIF-a-cuss). These two species of bacteria live and thrive in warm, salt water environments, and are associated with eating raw or undercooked seafood, particularly shellfish. A V. parahaemolyticus infection causes all the standard flu-like symptoms, (fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, etc.) but most people make it through, without medication, in about 3 days or so. V. vulnificus, however, is a much meaner little fellow, and is particularly harmful to those who are immunocompromised. V. vulnificus can enter the body through ingestion, or through open wounds or cuts. Symptoms usually show up between 1 and 7 days after exposure, and can include similar issues to parahaemolyticus, but can include skin lesions, and shock. About 50% of patients die from a V. vulnicus infection, even with aggressive treatment. The good news is, only about 30 cases are reported in the United States per year. For you math nerds, that means about 0.6 cases per state, per year. Not enough for me to worry about, but if you are, you should know that heat kills all species of Vibrio. Heat is the ONLY thing that kills vibrio. Hot sauce will NOT kill vibrio. Lemon juice will NOT kill vibrio. Prayer will NOT kill vibrio.

So, while you may think a groovy vacation is digging oysters for your next shucking, while listening to “Pulling Mussels From a Shell” and “Rock Lobster”, it would be advisable to get all your shellstock from a reputable source, just so you live to see next year’s vacation…

Mignonette recipe
-2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (or onion)
-About ½ cup red wine vinegar
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Combine all ingredients and chill (and I mean put into refrigeration, not just hang out on the couch listening to jazz…) until ready to serve.

Vacancy Announcement

Environmental Health Specialist I

ON-SITE WATER PROTECTION PROGRAM

 

Salary Grade:

Not Provided

Salary Range:

$46,000 – $53,000 for authorized applicants, dependent on authorizations and experience (less for applicants without authorizations)

Closing Date:

Open Until Filled

Position Number:

Not Provided

Location:

Rutherford County, NC (occasional work in McDowell County)

Description of Work:

• Perform new site evaluations for both septic systems and private drinking water wells.
• Issue or deny permits based on compliance with N.C. Rules and Regulations.
• Perform final inspections of permitted systems during and after the construction process.
• Perform well grout inspections and final well head evaluations to determine compliance with N.C. Rules and Regulations.
• Collect private drinking water well samples.
• Provide consultation as needed to contractors and property owners for problems encountered during septic and well installation.
• Issue Operation Permits for septic systems and wells upon verification of all installation requirements.
• Inspect existing systems for additions/expansions and re-connections.
• Investigate complaints concerning septic systems and private water supplies and other public health related matters.
• Other duties as assigned by Environmental Health Director.

Minimum Education And Experience:

Graduation from a four-year college or university with 30 semester hours of course work in the physical or biological sciences and two years of experience in environmental health; or a four-year or Masters degree in environmental health from a program which is accredited by the National Accreditation Council for Environmental Health Curricula of the National Environmental Health Association and one year of experience in environmental health. Necessary special qualifications: Registration as an environmental health specialist; or eligibility for registration as an environmental health specialist by the NC State Board of Environmental Health Specialist Examiners.

Application Process:

To apply for this position, submit the required NC state application (PD-107) to:
Rutherford-Polk-McDowell District Health Department
ATTN: Personnel Department
221 Callahan-Koon Road
Spindale, NC 28160
EOE

Applications can be obtained from the Personnel Office or downloaded at www.rpmhd.org/hr/employment. Resumes without an accompanying PD-107 will not be considered. This position will remain open until filled. Completed applications and resumes can be e-mailed to personnel@rpmhd.org

Alert April 30, 2019


Rutherford Polk McDowell Health District

The Rutherford Polk McDowell Health District, in conjunction with North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, and North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources, are issuing a precautionary advisory pending an environmental investigation for Coxes Creek, Armstrong Creek near NC 226 and North Fork Catawba River.

 

Event:  McDowell County reported an unknown amount of liquid asphalt that has released from an overturned tractor trailer near the 3200 Block of NC226 near Triple J RV Park & Campgrounds.

 

Liquid asphalt from the incident has spilled into Coxes Creek. The potential exists for a fish kill downstream of the spill. Sheen and brown discoloration of the water is visible into the N. Fork Catawba River.

 

Notice:  Until the conditions posing the impact to the Coxes Creek, Armstrong Creek and N. Fork Catawba are remediated and tested to be diminished or removed, environmental and public health officials recommend:

 

  • Do not access the section of Coxes Creek from the Triple J RV Park on NC 226 downstream to include Armstrong Creek and the North Fork Catawba River.
  • Avoid skin contact with the water, soil, and sediment in this area. Especially areas that are associated with sheen or show discoloration.
  • If skin comes in contact with contaminated water, thoroughly wash the affected area with soap and water.
  • Do not interact with or eat fish that have died in areas impacted from the spill.

 

For further information please contact the Rutherford Polk McDowell Health District at (828) 659-6642.

 

April

Nutrition Spotlight


Strawberries

Is there anyone who doesn’t like Strawberries? Whether you eat them right off the vine in your own garden, or thawed from your freezer as a fruit for dinner, or in a recipe for a summertime dessert – strawberries are a really tasty fruit. They are a good source of fiber, Vitamin C and folate. Look for North Carolina strawberries in April, May and June. Berries from Florida and California may not be quite as good, but are available most of the year. Choose berries that are bright red color, firm and shiny. Wash just before using.

Amazing Fruit Salad

Ingredients

2 cups Lettuce leaves such as romaine, red leaf, or butter lettuce, washed and torn
1 cup Canned pinapple chunks drained, save 3 tablespoons of juice for the yogurt mixture
1 cup Strawberries sliced
3 Kiwifruit peeled and sliced
½ cup Fruit-flavored yogurt
3 tablespoons Pineapple juice
2 teaspoons Lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

(1) Place torn lettuce leaves into a large salad bowl .
(2) Add pineapple chunks, strawberries, and kiwifruit .
(3) In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, pineapple juice, and lemon juice .
(4) Drizzle yogurt mixture over salad . Serve .

NURITION FACTS:

Serving size: 1¼ cups
Total calories: 169 Total fat: 1.1 g Saturated fat: 0.3 g Carbohydrates: 40 g Protein: 3.5 g Fiber: 5.6 g Sodium: 27 mg

Recipe from https://eatfresh.org/recipe/side-dish/amazing-fruit-salad

 

 

 

 

By Jason Masters
     Environmental Health Director

Meat Meat Meat Is My Favorite Thing To Eat


A

Q: Jason…my favorite meat market (they have great haggis) has a score of 90! How is this possible? They don’t even cook anything!

-Adam

A: Hey Adam, great question! Meat markets are those sacred spots, usually in grocery stores, that allow us the opportunity to pick out what slab of protein we want for dinner. From the elegant scallop, to the downright dirty rack of ribs, meat markets have most anything you need for that dinner, BBQ, low county boil, or whatever event might come your way. Let’s talk about how that place got a 90…

You are correct, most meat markets don’t cook anything. This should be a clue as to what caused your favorite spot to get that score. In the absence of cooking, the items we look at during an inspection are basically food storage and food holding. Remember that foods must be stored by final cook temperature. That means that foods that have the highest final cook temperature must be stored at the bottom. For instance, chicken has a final cook temperature of 165 degrees F. So, what’s going to happen if you put raw chicken over a raw hamburger? Well let’s say Bubba opens up the reach in cooler, and is looking for an ice cold cherry coke. He sees one in the very back, and as he’s reaching for it, he tips the chicken and the chicken juice just teeming with salmonella hits the burgers stored underneath. Let me tell you something…Bubba doesn’t care. As long as that chicken or burger didn’t hit the floor, he’s not worried about it, (and heck, most of the time, he wouldn’t care if it DID hit the floor, so long as nobody saw it). So, next thing you know, you’ve stopped by Bubbas Meat Market on your way home. The kids are screaming, the Sirius XM isn’t working right, your “check engine” light just came on, and you’re about to run out of gas. You need something quick and easy. Burgers! Easy! Fire up the gas grill, throw ’em on, and in 15 minutes, dinner is served. A perfect burger that just reached 155 degrees F. Everybody dig in, right? Wait a minute…remember when Bubba was reaching for that cherry coke? Oh yeah, salmonella from that juice was all over those burgers…Salmonella isn’t killed until 165 degrees F…Uh-oh…You’ve got a problem.

Food storage issues? That’s a 1.5 point violation right there, unless it’s a repeat, in which case it could be a 3 point violation.

With all those bacteria, viruses and parasites around raw meat, you would think it would be pretty important to keep everything clean, wouldn’t you? Well it is! Do you think Bubba takes time out of his day to mix up the proper concentration of chlorine sanitizer? Heck no! He’s busy, man! Got to get those ribeyes sliced, all that meat ground, and those birds cut up. Aww man! Bubba forgot to clean the slicer, grinder, and his knives yesterday. Oh well, let’s just wipe everything down with this rag, and throw it on the counter. No sanitizer? Dirty equipment? Another 1.5 point violation (or 3 if it’s a repeat), plus wiping cloths stored on counters and prep areas? Nope, sorry Bubba, cloths used for wiping must be stored in a sanitizer solution during pauses in use. Think it’s not a big deal? What about that chicken juice you just wiped up off the floor? I just watched you clean your knives with the same rag! That’s another .5 points.

Hey look over there! Meat on the floor over by the walk in cooler. Bubba had a delivery today! All those boxes of meat came in this morning, and you’ve been so busy you just haven’t had time to put them up? Well, I understand, but its 3:30 now…Improper cold holding? Another 1.5, (or 3 if rep….oh you get the idea…) plus food on the floor? .5 points.

Hey Bubba, what’s this chunk of meat over here by the slicer? It’s frozen, and you’re waiting on it to thaw so it will slice easier? Remember, frozen foods have to thaw under refrigeration or under running water. Improper thawing? .5 points. Bubba’s score is rolling downhill fast.

Hey Bubba, what’s in this Yeti 110? Uh, yeah, I can see it’s some meat…what I mean is, what is it, and where did it come from? It’s a goat carcass from Gambling Gary’s Goat Grocery? Yeah, that’s not an approved source, Bubba. That’s another 1 point. You’re going to need to get that ghastly gruesome goat gone…now.

Oh hey! Over here is a big chunk of meat sitting in one compartment of your 3 compartment sink! And I see you have some dirty knives and meat trays in the next compartment. Bubba, I’ve told you over and over that you can only use your 3 compartment sink for one thing at a time. You can’t have dirty utensils in the sink at the same time as prepped food. That’s another 1 point, because this is the 5th time I have marked this on your inspection.

I see your dumpster doors are open, and as usual, the drain plugs are missing. In reviewing your past inspections, I see we have marked drain plugs missing 6 times. This is a repeat violation, so that’s another 1 point gone. You just can’t let delicious trash juice keep leaking all over the parking lot. Insects and rodents love it! And if they can find their way to your dumpster, they can find a way in to your meat market, Bubba.

OK Pal, we are almost finished with your inspection. Just show me your food protection manager training certificate, and I’ll get this all typed up. What’s that? You are not a certified food protection manager? Aww man, that’s another 2 points. Remember, a certified food protection manager must be onsite at all times of operation.

So Adam, by my count, that’s 11 points worth of violations right there, which would give Bubbas Meat Market a score of 89. Believe me friends, it can and does happen. If your favorite meat market has a low score, you need to be asking yourself “why?” Remember, all of our inspections can be found online at http://rpmhd.org/environmental/environmental-health-forms-2/ It is an invaluable tool, and I strongly encourage you to use it.

Stay safe, friends!

SUBHEADING

 

March

Nutrition Spotlight


SPINACH

Popeye shouldn’t be the only one to benefit from spinach! Spinach packs a powerful punch, high in: vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, folic acid, iron, calcium, and fiber. Try this recipe for a family friendly way to bring spinach to the table.

Cheesy Spinach Bake

Ingredients
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 large eggs
½ cup 1% low-fat milk
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or melted butter
½ cup seasoned dried bread crumbs
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

(1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
(2) Drain the spinach in a colander. Press with the back of a large spoon to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
(3) Whisk together the eggs, milk, and olive oil in a large bowl. Whisk in the bread crumbs and baking powder. Stir in the spinach, Cheddar cheese, and Parmesan cheese until well combined.
(4) Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan. Bake until the mixture is set and the top is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Slice into 2 x 4-inch rectangles and serve. Sprinkle the tops with a few pinches of salt to taste.

Recipe from https://www.cookstr.com/Casserole-Recipes/Cheesy-Spinach-Bake

 

 

 

 

By Jason Masters
     Environmental Health Director

Common Food Myths


A S

Q: Hi Jason, long time reader, first time writing in… I just found some leftover lasagna in my fridge. I don’t know how long it has been there, but it doesn’t smell bad, so it’s safe, right?

-Becky

A: Oh. My. God. Becky. Look at that myth…

This leads me into a whole section I like to call… Fact or Fiction

So, my question is, who leaves lasagna in their fridge that long? Lasagna is delicious.

In North Carolina, according to the NC food code manual, a food can be held for 7 days at 41 degrees F or below. Don’t know the temperature of your fridge? Pick up one of these.

And remember, the ambient temperature of your refrigerator needs to be about 38 degrees F to maintain 41 degrees F in food.

There is no way to accurately determine if a food is safe to eat based on smell, look, taste, sliminess, length of fur, whether or not your brother-in-law would eat it, etc. Just because there may be a visible lack in quality doesn’t necessarily mean a food isn’t safe to eat, but the best recommendation I can make is, “when in doubt, throw it out.”

These apples are organic, so I’m just going to dig right in…yum, yum…crunchy!

Just because a food is labeled as organic or all natural doesn’t automatically make it safe to eat as is. The term “organic” usually applies to foods that are grown without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Meat or dairy products labeled as “organic” are fed diets that are lacking in hormones and antibiotics. Before a product can be labeled as “organic”, a government entity (the USDA, through the National Organic Program) must certify the farm (or farms) as meeting strict criteria known as the USDA organic standards. And while the organic movement is growing in the United States, as well as here in Buncombe County, the organic standards say nothing about bacteria or viruses that may come in contact with the product. E. Coli (as well as other toxin producing bacteria, and viruses) is very prevalent in soil and water runoff, and frequently comes in contact with produce. The best routine is to simply wash all produce under running water.

I just got home from my favorite restaurant, and now I’m feeling sick. It must have been the two dozen raw oysters, XXtra hot wings, and two margaritas followed by a 3 egg omelet, right? I don’t think I can ever eat these foods again, or smell tequila, or look at oyster shells, etc. etc.…

While this…eclectic…combination of foods may cause even the most iron-gutted of us to cringe, it is USUALLY not what you most recently ordered at “Vibrio’s Oyster and Omelet Shack”* that got you sick. Although there are some cases of the onset of symptoms of foodborne illness occurring within 1-2 hours, these are associated with added ingredients or methods of preparation (i.e. foods cooked in metal lined cans, or the addition of metallic salts) or allergic reactions (MSG, or certain histamines associated with fish). Most true foodborne illness symptoms occur several hours to days after ingestion. Norovirus, a very common foodborne illness, for example, usually takes 12-48 hours to show up. And believe me, when it does, you will know. If you think you are becoming sick, try to remember the last several places you have eaten. It will be important to know these things when you call to inform the environmental health department of your illness…(you DO call and report your foodborne illness, right?) Also, go to the doctor. They will be able to confirm that what you are experiencing is actually a food borne illness, and not just indigestion…(plop plop, fizz fizz)

I just dropped my cheeseburger on the ground, but it’s cool, because, 5 second rule, right? Fact or fiction?

My personal favorite of all the food myths…

The real answer is: Partially fiction (or partially fact, if you are one of those half-full people). It really depends on the food, and the floor. The best explanation may be in the form of an example. Let’s say you dropped your pretzel on a hardwood floor.

Because both the pretzel and the hardwood floor are dry, transference of bacteria MAY be at a minimum. Now, if the floor was wet because you spilled all the juice out of the chicken package, OR if the pretzel is wet because your 3 year old licked all the salt off, well then, that’s a different story (and it might be a good idea to get your kids blood pressure checked). Same deal if it’s a wet food and dry floor. A cheeseburger dropped on a dry floor is probably going to pick up some nasty stuff. And of course, moist food and moist floor (or ground), well, that’s just a recipe for disaster. Bacteria don’t have a time limit on how quickly they jump on foods. It’s really fun to drop your chocolate chip cookie in front of your kids and yell “5 SECOND RULE!!” before wrestling it out of their hands, but the best course of action is to consider this a teaching moment, and err on the side of caution, and discard the food.

You can reach the food and lodging division of the environmental health section at 828-287-6317 (Rutherford), 828-894-8004 (Polk), or 828-652-2921 (McDowell), with any questions related to food safety.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent*

UBHEADING

 

February

Nutrition Spotlight


BANANAS

Bananas are the Powerhouse of Nutrients. A banana is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, manganese, iron, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and B6. These all contribute to the proper functioning of the body and keeping you healthy. They contain lots of fiber, make a great snack, and are quick to grab for breakfast when heading out the door on a busy morning. Try out the recipe below for a sweet way to include bananas in your diet.

 

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2)
1-3/4 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

DIRECTIONS

(1) In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients; beat in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg, bananas and oats; mix well. Stir in chips and nuts.

(2) Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

Nutrition Facts

2 each: 195 calories, 10g fat (5g saturated fat), 24mg cholesterol, 186mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (14g sugars, 2g fiber), 3g protein.

Originally published as Banana Oatmeal Cookies in Taste of Home April/May 1996 – https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/banana-oatmeal-cookies/

 

 

 

 

By Jason Masters
     Environmental Health Director

Stock in the middle with you…


A SUBHEADING

Q: Hey Jason, I love soup in the winter, but have always been afraid of the process. What is a safe way to make homemade soup for the cold winter months?

-Joyce

A: Soup is a wonderful treat on a cold winter day, or if you are like me, at any time throughout the year. Most soups are pretty basic, consisting of stock, meat and/or vegetables, and spices. Some soups introduce cream as a way to thicken and give the soup a silky mouthfeel. But to understand soup, we have to first start with the stock. Stock is just a product of water simmered with meat or bones (or both) for a set time period. Most times, vegetables are added, as well as salt and pepper and any other number of things you might have in the pantry. Simply put, water with meat and bones and those limp pieces of celery you’ve been saving, with a couple pinches of salt thrown in, and simmered for a few hours will produce a product that is far superior to any store bought stock or broth, and will add immense flavor (picture Guy Fieri: “Welcome to flavortown, baby!”) to any soup you make.

So what if you don’t have a half-day to sit around sipping hot tea and daydreaming of what you’re going to do after you retire, while leisurely skimming fat off your bubbling stock? Easy. Throw it all in a pressure cooker, let it sputtle and spurt for an hour, and BOOM, you’re done. Once you have your stock completed, soups, sauces, gravies, etc. are all within your grasp. (We will save sauces and gravies for another issue…)

From a food safety standpoint, cooling your delicious stock is the real issue. The North Carolina Food Code Manual (which is an adaptation of the 2009 FDA food code) dictates that potentially hazardous foods be cooled from 135 degrees F to 70 degrees F within two hours, and from 70 degrees F to 41 degrees F within the following 4 hours, to inhibit the growth of potentially harmful bacteria. The temperature range between 135 degrees F and 41 degrees F is what is commonly known as “The Danger Zone” (cue up your Kenny Loggins, kids…) and is the range that is just perfect for bacteria to thrive. This means exponential growth of bacteria is possible within this temperature range, however, if food is cooled within the parameters mentioned, then food can be safely stored. These are the exact specifications to which restaurants in all counties within the state are held. Some methods to help cool your stock (or any other food for that matter) include: ice baths, ice wands, adding ice to products, or placing products in a cooling unit (but make sure the food is not too hot, or it can warm up other foods in your refrigerator). You don’t need a fancy health inspector thermometer to keep track of your foods internal temperatures either, but spend the $10-15 bucks and grab one of these from Target (http://www.target.com/p/taylor-compact-digital-folding-probe-thermometer/-/A-16965407) or Wal-Mart (https://www.walmart.com/ip/Taylor-TruTemp-Digital-Instant-Read-Thermometer/16541966).

If you think correctly cooling your stock is a pain, try telling a restaurant owner that he has to dump 10 gallons of his Italian Granny’s secret recipe Toscana down the drain…

You can reach the food and lodging division of the environmental health section at 828-287-6317 (Rutherford), 828-894-8004 (Polk), or 828-652-2921 (McDowell),  with any questions related to food safety.

Traditional Chicken Stock

-1/2 of chicken carcass

-2-3 ribs of celery broken in half or thirds

-2-3 carrots broken in half or thirds

-whole onion, quartered, with skin on (for color)

-2 garlic cloves, smashed

-generous salt

-generous pepper

-1-2 bay leaves

Take the bones and leftover meat and skin (the skin will add a deep color to the stock and can be omitted if desired) from a roasted chicken or a rotisserie chicken, and break apart. You will only need about a half a chicken carcass to make approx. 8 cups of stock. Freeze the remaining bones and meat for another time. Add bones and meat to a large stock pot, with celery, carrots, onion, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and whatever other spices you might like. Add 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 2-3 hours, tasting and occasionally skimming the fat from the top of the pot if necessary. Will yield about 8 cups of stock. When finished cooking, remove from heat, strain, use immediately for soups or stews, or cool and hold for seven days at 41 degrees or less.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock

Add all ingredients from above to pressure cooker, with 10 cups of water, place lid on cooker and seal, on high heat until pressure regulator begins to “speak”. Reduce heat to medium-low, (regulator should speak every few seconds) for about one hour. Remove from heat, strain, use immediately or cool. Will yield about 8 cups of stock.