Holiday Food Safety IQ – Test Your Knowledge

Is your Holiday Food Safety IQ up to safe standards?  Most people don’t realize that food safety is the most important ingredient in preparing food for the holidays. Check your understanding of food safety so your holidays can be remembered for all the right reasons.

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#1 The CDC estimates that roughly 48 million people get sick each year from a foodborne illness.

The CDC estimates that each year roughly 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.

#2 What are the three hazard categories of food contaminants?

Biological hazards include bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Chemical hazards include natural toxins and chemical contaminants. Some natural toxins are associated with the food itself (i.e., certain mushrooms and shellfish). Food allergens are also considered a chemical hazard. Physical hazards can include metal shavings from cans and plastic pieces or broken glass.

#3 What is the bacteria growth “Danger Zone” range of temperature?

Bacteria grows most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes.

#4 Before or after handling food, hands should be washed with water and soap for at least:

According to FDA, you should use plain soap and water, rub your hands together to make a lather, and scrub them well for at least 20 seconds.

#5 Which of the following groups has the LOWEST RISK for foodborne illness:

Although foodborne illness can affect anyone, young adults are the least susceptible. Other groups have a greater risk, such as: infants, the elderly, cancer patients, diabetes patients, pregnant women, and other people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, diabetes, or an organ transplant.

#6 The pathogen most associated with undercooked beef and hamburger is:

E coli. is the pathogen most often associated with undercooked beef and hamburger Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria normally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals. When cattle are slaughtered and processed, E. coli bacteria in their intestines can get on the meat. If the pathogens are present when meat is ground, then more of the meat surface is exposed to the harmful bacteria.

#7 Which pathogen poses the greatest risk in raw chicken?

Salmonella is the greatest risk found in raw chicken. Salmonella bacteria live in the intestines of people, animals and birds. Most people are infected with salmonella by eating foods that have been contaminated by feces.

#8 Which of the procedures is the best method to ensure a safe environment for food preparation?

According to the USDA, the basic way to ensure a safe environment for food preparation is through the procedures: clean, separate, cook, and chill. By following these four basic steps, you can significantly reduce the chance for a foodborne illness.

#9 What is the safe cooking temperature for pork?

The USDA recommends cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F – as measured by a food thermometer.

#10 How long can you safely keep leftovers in the refrigerator?

Leftovers can be kept for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Be sure to eat them within that time. After that, the risk of food poisoning increases.

#11 The only way to ensure food is cooked properly to kill harmful bacteria is to:

The only way to know food has been cooked to a safe internal temperature is to use a food thermometer.

#12 Food should be left at room temperature for no more than:

Follow the 2-hour rule: Do not let perishable food sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If the temperature is above 90 degrees, limit that time to only 1 hour.

#13 Which of the following bacteria are responsible for causing the greatest number of foodborne illnesses?

Noroviruses are the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis (infection of the stomach and intestines) in the United States. Norovirus illness spreads easily and is often called stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis.

#14 Which bacteria poses the greatest risk to foodborne illness is found in raw poultry?

Salmonella is the greatest risk found in raw poultry (domestic fowl, such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese). Salmonella is a bacteria associated with poultry and egg products causing nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, chills, and prostration.

#15 What is NOT the best method to thaw a frozen turkey?

The USDA recommends three ways to safely thaw frozen turkey. 1: Thaw in the Refrigerator – Allow approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey. 2: Thaw in Cold Water – Allow approximately 30 minutes for every pound of turkey. 3: Thaw in a Microwave Oven – Times and power settings will be vary from model to model.

#16 How long can you keep a thawed or fresh turkey in the refrigerator?

Once a frozen turkey is thawed, the FDA recommends it be cooked within 2 days. If getting a fresh, unfrozen turkey, plan on picking up from the store only one or two days before cooking it.

#17 Is it safe to cook the stuffing inside a turkey?

The USDA recommends that the entire turkey is cooked to 165°F – including the stuffing. If the stuffing doesn’t reach 165°F, the bacteria won’t be killed off and could cause foodborne illness. Cooking stuffing inside the turkey to 165°F often means overcooking the bird – so it’s best to cook the stuffing separate.

#18 What is the correct temperature for re-heating leftovers?

According to the USDA, leftovers need to be re-heated to an internal temperature of at least 165°F – as measured with a food thermometer – for 15 seconds or more – in order to kill any bacteria.

#19 What dangerous bacteria infection(s) can raw (uncooked) flour pose?

Flour is not intended to be consumed raw. Flour is a minimally processed agricultural ingredient and is not a ready-to-eat product. Food illness outbreaks associated with flour involved the pathogens Salmonella and Escherichia coli (E. coli).

#20 Which pathogen is most likely to contaminate eggs?

Poultry may carry bacteria such as Salmonella that can contaminate the inside of eggs before the shells are formed. Eggs can also become contaminated from the droppings of poultry through the laying process or from the environment (e.g., contaminated poultry feed or bedding).

#21 What is the safe temperature for cooking pumpkin pies?

Pumpkin pie is made with eggs and milk – so it must be safely baked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 160°F. Other pies made with milk and eggs, such as custard pie or cheese cake, should be treated similarly.

#22 What is the minimum safe cooking temperature of seafood?

According to the USDA, seafood should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F – as measured by a food thermometer – and appear opaque and separate easily with a fork.

#23 Is it safe to eat raw cookie dough?

The FDA suggests to not eat any raw cookie dough, cake mix, or batter due to a risk of E. coli from untreated flour or salmonella from raw eggs.

#24 What are the concerns with raw oysters?

Raw shellfish can be contaminated with a variety of foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, norovirus and Vibrio vulnificus. Eating raw oysters and certain other undercooked shellfish, such as clams and mussels, can put you at risk for infections. Likewise, shellfish can become contaminated by toxin-producing algae because of red tide (algal bloom) events – and should not be consumed.

#25 Is raw (unpasteurized) milk dangerous to your health?

Raw milk is unpasteurized milk from any animal. Raw milk can carry harmful germs that can make you very sick or kill you, including Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella. Getting sick from raw milk can mean many days of diarrhea, stomach cramping, and vomiting. Choose pasteurized milk and milk products.

#26 What are the dangers of leaving cooked rice or pasta sitting at room temperature for too long?

Once rice or pasta is cooked and begins to cool, toxins are formed by a bacteria called Bacillus cereus – which can cause foodborne illness. Inflicted people can suffer from diarrhea and/or from nausea and vomiting. Death has occurred in some very rare cases.

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