Food Safety for National Pizza Month

The time has come to celebrate America’s favorite food – covered with warm gooey cheese and your favorite toppings – encased in a sturdy crust. That’s right – October is National Pizza Month!

Not to be confused with National Pizza Day (February 9), National Cheese Pizza Day (September 5), National Pepperoni Pizza Day (September 20), and National Sausage Pizza Day (October 11) – proof that America really loves pizza!

National Pizza Month is also a perfect time to practice safe food principles when it comes to leftovers – because by leaving your pizza out at room temperature too long – increases your risk of a foodborne illness.

National Pizza Month also means businesses are offering pizza deals! Check out the deals and freebies offered throughout the month. Use the hashtag #NationalPizzaMonth on social media.

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The Creation of National Pizza Month

Pizza Today’s founder Gerry Durnell created the National Pizza Month observance in 1984 to mark the debut of the first issue of Pizza Today magazine. The U.S. Congress officially designated October as National Pizza Month in 1987.

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Although a bit redundant in the U.S., nearly every month could be considered Pizza Month because people don’t really need a special month for pizza. According to Pizza.com, an estimated 63,000 pizzerias and 94% of Americans eat pizza at least once a month.

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How Long is my Leftover Pizza Still Safe to Eat?

Leaving pizza out and eating it later is something we’ve all been guilty of. But how long is leftover pizza still safe to eat?

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Sadly, if your pizza has been sitting out for more than two hours, it is not safe to eat. According to the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), all perishable foods, including pizza, are not safe to eat after sitting at room temperature for many hours.

Bacteria “Danger Zone”

One of the critical factors in controlling bacteria in food is controlling temperature. Bacteria grow very slowly at temperatures below 40°F  –  multiply rapidly between 40°F and 140°F  –  and are destroyed at temperatures above 140°F.

Foodborne Illness Signs and Symptoms

Foodborne illness signs and symptoms can begin as early as shortly after and as late as weeks after consumption of contaminated food. Common symptoms of foodborne illnesses include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and chills.

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Foodborne Illness Vulnerable Groups

Certain groups are more likely to get foodborne illness or have a more serious illness. These groups are young children, pregnant women, adults aged 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems.

Summary

Anyone can get sick from eating contaminated food. Don’t leave pizza sitting out at room temperature for more than two hours, it is not safe to eat. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), all perishable foods, including pizza, are not safe to eat after sitting at room temperature for more than two hours.

Use safe food principles and procedures to protect yourself and your loved ones by keeping food safe.

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