Baltimore County Now
Chris Korpman, Engineer III
Baltimore County Public Works
There is FOG in the sewers –but it’s not that misty stuff that fills the air. The term “F.O.G.” stands for fats, oils and grease. Originating in our kitchens, it clogs sanitary sewer systems across Baltimore County and is a harmful threat to the environment. When poured or washed down the drain, FOG builds up on pipe walls, restricting the flow of wastewater exiting our home’s plumbing.
Over time, FOG leads to blockages that result in overflows into our homes or onto our streets, down storm drains, and into local waterways, all posing a serious risk to public health.
The 10 most common sources of FOG are:
- Cooking Oil
- Fat trimmings
- Butter and Lard
- Baking Goods
- Dairy Products
- Food Scraps
Put Fats, oil and grease where they belong…
Never pour F.O.G. into your sink or toilet. Rather, dispose of F.O.G. into a small can, storing in the freezer until full. When it’s full, throw it into the trash.
When there is F.O.G. residue in a pan or on a dish, wipe it with a paper towel before washing and throw the towel in the trash.
Place a strainer in the kitchen sink drain to catch food scraps and other solids, then empty the strainer into the trash.
Please keep this in mind during your holidays and remember, "Cease the Grease."
William A. Bridges, Environmental Health Specialist
Baltimore County Department of Health
Environmental Health Services
Parties, family dinners, and other gatherings where food is served are all part of the holiday cheer. But the merriment can change to misery if food makes you or others ill. Use the following seven tips to make your holiday a safe one.
1. Are you thawing correctly?
Thawing the turkey or any meat product on the counter might seem easier, but it’s not safe. Thaw your turkey in the refrigerator, in cold running water or in the microwave continuing with the cooking process.
2. Got a thermometer?
No matter how good it looks, you can only tell if a whole turkey is safely cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Always use a food thermometer. Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria.
3. Should you dress it?
Whether it is cooked inside or outside the bird, all stuffing and dressing must be cooked to a minimum temperature of 165ºF. For optimum safety, cooking your stuffing in a casserole dish outside of the bird is recommended. To avoid harmful bacteria growth, never stuff your turkey the night before.
4. Can you leave it out?
As tempting as it is to leave out for all to admire, your pumpkin pie contains milk and eggs, so first bake it to the safe minimum temperature of 160 degrees F., then refrigerate after baking.
5. Wanna taste?
Using the same spoon for stirring and tasting is bad manners and oh yeah, it can spread bacteria and viruses.
6. Did you use soap and water?
Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or handling pets.
7. More leftovers than usual?
· Refrigerate leftovers in shallow containers within 2 hours of cooking.
· Use leftover foods within 3-4 days or freeze.
· Reheat leftovers thoroughly to 165 degrees F.
Here’s hoping you and yours have a happy, healthy and delicious holiday meal. For more information on holiday food, travel and pet safety, visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/health.
Michelle Marseilles Bruns
Manager, Caregiver Program
Baltimore County Department of Aging
No doubt you know a family caregiver because there are thousands of them across our region. They are the sons, daughters-in-law, spouses, adult grandchildren, neighbors and close friends who are providing care and support to seniors in our community. They do this out of a concern for the safety and well-being of their loved one. It is a labor of love.
November is National Family Caregivers Month. It is a designated time each year to recognize the countless hours that families provide, without financial compensation, to keep seniors at home as independently as possible. In recognition of this occasion, why not give the gift of your time to offer to the family caregiver so they may take a short break from their caregiving tasks. Offer to visit with their loved one, while they go out for some “time off.”
Currently, the Maryland Caregiver Support Coordinating Council has posted a Family Needs Survey that will be posted online through December 31. In order to get an accurate portrait of current caregiving needs statewide, caregivers can take the survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/dhrcaregiver to answer questions about the care provided to loved ones, how caregiving has impacted their life and various needs as a family caregiver.
Caring for a loved one can be stressful, but there are resources to help. Contact Maryland Access Point (MAP) of Baltimore County at 410-887-2594 for information and assistance related to older adults and persons with disabilities.