Food digest June 2019

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food digest

June 2019

In this issue

New health inspector joins Environmental Health!


In February we welcomed Brontae Berkhoel to our cadre of Environmental Health inspectors.

Previously she was an Environmental Health Specialist for the City of St. Cloud where she conducted food, pool, and lodging inspections, as well as participated in educational outreach programs.

Brontae graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. In her spare time, she likes to hike, boat, travel, paint, and spend time with family and friends.

Grilling tips to keep food safe

get ready to grill


It is finally time to fire up the barbecue! The season of cookouts, grilling events, festivals and markets has arrived, but it's also the season when we see a spike in food poisoning. This was recently discussed by food safety experts on Minnesota Public Radio (MPR). If you're a hosting a barbecue this season, let’s keep the bugs to ones you see dashing across your patio. Here's a few key safety tips:

  • Separate: keep your raw foods away from everything else everywhere. That means separate in your shopping cart, in your car, on your counters, and in the coolers. Ice that has come into contact with raw foods should not be re-purposed for anything else. Have separate cutting boards for chicken, for beef, for veggies. There are many inexpensive ones available; use a permanent marker to write on them so they don’t get mixed up.
  • Chill: keep your food below 41°F until it's ready to cook. This includes during transport, too. Remember – refrigeration only slows down the growth of bacteria and viruses, so even if the food only gets slightly warmer, the germs are happier and growth speeds up.
  • Clean: keep your work and prep spaces clean and keep yourself clean too. If you wrestled the dog, played with the cat, worked in the garden, then you need to scrub thoroughly and maybe even change your clothes if you’re going to cook. You’d be surprised how much of what’s stuck on you ends up as unintentional “spice” in your food.
  • Check your equipment: inspect your grill and brushes prior to cooking. There are many products available to help you safely clean your grill, as well as common household mixes of vinegar and baking soda. The internet and local hardware stores can provide a wealth of good information to keep you from ruining a great time with a bad intestinal bug. And most important: if you have any wire brushes do not use them on your grill! The bristles can break off and can cause very serious harm. Just ask one of the 1,700 Americans who ended up in the Emergency Room (ER) between 2002 and 2014 because they inadvertently swallowed a wire bristle with their barbecue. (ref.)
  • Don't cross-contaminate: Wash your hands—thoroughly, at least 20 seconds worth and including your wrists is not a bad idea. Don't use marinades as salad dressings. And again, keep those cutting boards separate.
  • Cook & hold: Cook your foods to the correct temperature, and use a thermometer to verify them. See chart below from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):


Minimum internal temperature & rest time

Beef, pork, veal & lamb

Steaks, chops, roasts

145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes

Ground meats (beef burgers)

160 °F (71.1 °C)

Ham, fresh or smoked (uncooked)

145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes

Fully cooked ham

(to reheat)

Reheat cooked hams to 140 °F (60 °C) and all others to 165 °F (73.9 °C).


Minimum internal temperature

All poultry (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, wings, ground poultry, giblets, and stuffing)

165 °F (73.9 °C)


160 °F (71.1 °C)

Fish & shellfish

145 °F (62.8 °C)


165 °F (73.9 °C)


165 °F (73.9 °C)


  • Refrigerate: put the food in the fridge, the freezer, or the garbage when you're done with it; or after four hours, whichever comes first. Don't leave it out on the counter for a late-night snack because Bacillus cereus loves potato salad just as much as you do.

Also a very important reminder to check in with your volunteers, team or family members. Has anyone been sick recently? Is anyone having stomach issues? If so, they should not be handling or cooking food. It's also a good idea to exclude anyone that has a child or family at home that has been diagnosed with a contagious disease, like Norovirus. Even if the person feels fine, if they are caring for someone who does have those symptoms, they may be carrying those germs due to that close contact. Find another job for these folks!

Okay, you are now ready to enjoy your summer and have a safe grilling season!

This article has been adopted from the CDC's Grill Safety guidelines.


New Mobile Food Unit (MFU) licensing

food truck

Beginning July 1, 2019, Hennepin County Environmental Health will require any food truck or trailer (also known as a Mobile Food Unit (MFU)) to get a Hennepin license. Even if currently licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) or a city health department, the MFU must also get a license from Hennepin County if operating in the county's licensing jurisdiction (see map below).

This licensing does not apply to MFUs that have a Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) license—we will continue to honor those licenses.

A Hennepin County MFU license will only be valid in the Hennepin County Environmental Health jurisdiction (see map below).

Requirements for MFUs:

  • License must be original and posted on-site
  • Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) required per the new Food Code requirements
  • MN Food Code 4626.1860:  “the entire operation shall be accomplished from a single, self-contained unit” – setting up food tables or grills outside the unit is not allowed under the MFU license (additional licensing required).

Definition of a Mobile Food Unit from Minnesota Statute 157 Subd. 9: 

"Mobile Food Unit" means a food and beverage service establishment that is a vehicle mounted unit, either: (1) motorized or trailered, operating no more than 21 days annually at any one place, or operating more than 21 days annually at any one place with the approval of the regulatory authority as defined in Minnesota Rules, part 4626.0020, subpart 70; or (2) operated in conjunction with a permanent business licensed under this chapter or chapter 28A at the site of the permanent business by the same individual or company, and readily movable, without disassembling, for transport to another location.

Area Affected: The operating jurisdiction for Hennepin County is shown on the map below. It does not include the cities of Minneapolis, Bloomington, Richfield, Minnetonka, Edina, Wayzata, or Brooklyn Park. These jurisdictions have their own health departments and require their own separate licenses. If the MFU is normally licensed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), this MFU licensing does not apply.


Hennepin County Public Health's 2018 annual bulletin

We are excited to share Hennepin County Public Health’s 2018 annual bulletin! Give it a read at:

This bulletin is a snapshot of our department’s work, conveyed through stories, photos, and data. The bulletin reflects last year’s efforts and future plans. Some of our department priority efforts for 2019 include tackling the opioid epidemic, facilitating violence prevention, and continuing our commitment to health equity.

Our progress is only possible through partnership with the community. Thank you for your support!

If you have any questions or comments about the bulletin, please email or

Web resources

Visit for information on:

  • General environmental health 
  • Basic food safety classes 
  • Temporary food stand licensing 
  • Food license information, categories, and fee schedule 
  • New construction or remodeling application 

Radon information and test kits 

Septic system requirements and procedures

Body art licensing information (tattooing and piercing) 

Beaches in Hennepin County

Public swimming pool regulations

About us

Food Digest is a quarterly newsletter written by inspectors from Hennepin County Public Health Department. Articles are meant to support and educate Hennepin County food facility owners and operators. Topics focus on food safety and requirements from the Minnesota Food Code and Hennepin County food ordinance.



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Hopkins, MN 55343-9413

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Past issues

Previous issues of Food digest available in our archive.

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Hannah Marschinke


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