Food Safety for National Pizza Week

This week is the time to pay homage to all things pizza, no matter how you slice it. That’s right – the second full week of January is National Pizza Week.

Not to be confused with National Pizza Day (February 9) and National Pizza Month (October) – proof that America really loves pizza!

National Pizza Week 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 Week also means businesses are offering awesome pizza deals! Check out the deals and freebies offered. Also, use the hashtag #NationalPizzaWeek on social media.

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Although a bit redundant in the U.S., nearly every week could be considered Pizza Week because people don’t really need a special time to eat 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?

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.

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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.

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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Groups Vulnerable to Foodborne Illness

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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Image Source: Shutterstock