Food Safety Protection in Iowa: Did You Know…

  • ThinkstockPhotos-499289680No Bare Hands: The Iowa Food Code does not allow food handlers to touch ready-to-eat food with bare hands when serving the public. This means that foods like fresh produce (already washed and cut), sandwiches, pizza, deli meats, and bakery products are handled with tongs/utensils, deli papers, or gloves over clean hands.
  • Certified Food Protection Manager: The Iowa Food Code requires that at least one employee with supervisory responsibilities in a foodservice/restaurant operation be certified in food safety. This requirement became law in 2014. Existing restaurants have until January 1, 2018, to get at least one manager food safety certified.
  • Temporary Food Stands: Local food inspectors are busy during the summer months! They arrive before the food is served and inspect food stands at the farmers markets and at community events (Ice Cream Days, Watermelon Days, etc.). They check food temperatures and cleanliness, and they make sure the food handlers have a way to easily and correctly wash their hands.

Health Inspection Records at Your Fingertips

bldar022405079Health inspection records for eating establishments are now easier to find thanks to a new app—HD Scores. The app, available for both iPhone and Android devices, was developed by chef Matthew Eierman and his colleagues. The app displays a map of the user’s area and shows a percentage score for each establishment, based on a scoring algorithm created by HDScores.

HDScores emphasizes cleanliness and factors related to foodborne illness, and it focuses less on issues unrelated to contamination. This means it is possible for an establishment to score an A on their health inspection but receive a lower score on HDScores, like 75 percent, if they have only a few violations but those violations are directly related to foodborne illness risk.

Information on the app is updated frequently, with new inspection scores available within 12 to 24 hours of the health department’s filing. Currently the app contains data for more than 615,000 of the approximately 1.5 million eating establishments across the United States. The app covers the entire state of Iowa. For more information on the app, visit

Valentines Day: Celebrate in Good Health

heart1.  Going out to dinner?  Think smaller portion sizes. Divide your meal and share it or ask for a take-home container.

2.  Chocolate?  Dark chocolate has more antioxidants than milk chocolate. Some studies have shown the antioxidants in dark chocolate may help prevent heart disease. Indulge in flavor, not quantity.

3.  Gifts for your sweetie, your children or your grandchildren?  Think about ways to get them moving: a jump rope, water bottle, hand held weights, comfortable clothes for physical activity, or an ‘exergame’ (video games that involvement movement, like Wii Fit®). While no more than two hours of ‘screen time’ is recommended for children, research has shown that video games promoting physical activity can be beneficial. If your valentine will be playing video games, find games that increase their energy expenditure, heart rate, and perceived exertion. Research has shown that children who played certain video games burned:

  • 125 calories in 15 minutes while boxing
  • 92 calories in 15 minutes while playing tennis
  • 77 calories in 15 minutes while bowling

For more information on video games and children, access the free publications from The Science of Parenting:

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