Food Safety Quiz
Test Yourself: Is Your Kitchen Safe from Foodborne Disease?
Choose the answer that best describes your household. Keep track of the number of points for your answers and compare your score at the end.
a. 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius)
b. 41 F (5 C)
c. I don’t know; I’ve never measured it.
a. cooled to room temperature, then put in the refrigerator
b. put in the refrigerator immediately after the food was served
c. left at room temperature overnight or longer
a. last night
b. several weeks ago
c. can’t remember
a. reused as is
b. wiped with a damp cloth
c. washed with soap and hot water and sanitized with a mild chlorine bleach solution
a. made with raw eggs, and I sampled some of it
b. store-bought, and I sampled some of it
c. not sampled until baked
b. hot water and soap
c. hot water and soap, then bleach solution
d. hot water and soap, then commercial sanitizing agent
a. cleaned by an automatic dishwasher and then air-dried
b. left to soak in the sink for several hours and then washed with soap in the same water
c. washed right away with hot water and soap in the sink and then air-dried
d. washed right away with hot water and soap in the sink and immediately towel-dried
a. wiping them on a towel
b. rinsing them under hot, cold or warm tap water
c. washing with soap and warm water
a. setting them on the counter
b. placing them in the refrigerator
Here are the Answers!
1. Refrigerators should stay at 41oF (5 C) or less, so if you chose answer B, give yourself two points. If you didn’t, you’re not alone. Many people overlook the importance of maintaining an appropriate refrigerator temperature. A temperature of 41oF (5 C) or less is important because it slows the growth of most bacteria. The temperature won’t kill the bacteria, but it will keep them from multiplying, and the fewer there are, the less likely you are to get sick from them.
2. The answer is B. Hot foods should be refrigerated as soon as possible within two hours after cooking, but don’t keep the food if it’s been standing out more than two hours. Don’t taste test it, either. Even a small amount of contaminated food can cause illness. Date leftovers so they can be used within a safe time; generally, they remain safe for three to five days in the refrigerator. If in doubt, throw it out.
3. If answer A best describes your household’s practice, give yourself two points. Give yourself one point if you chose B. The kitchen sink drain, disposal and connecting pipe should be sanitized periodically with a solution of 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water. Food particles get trapped in the drain and disposal and create an ideal environment for bacterial growth.
4. If C best describes your household’s practice, give yourself two points. Washing with soap and hot water and then sanitizing with a mild bleach solution is the safest practice. If you picked A, you’re violating an important food safety rule: Never allow raw meat, poultry and fish to come in contact with other foods. Answer B isn’t good, either. Improper washing, such as with a damp cloth, will not remove bacteria.
5. Give yourself two points if you picked answer C. The safest way to eat hamburgers is to cook them until they are no longer red in the middle and the juices run clear. Cooking food, including ground meat patties, to an internal temperature of at least 160oF (71 C) usually protects against foodborne illness. Check cooked meat, fish and poultry with a meat thermometer.
6. If you answered A, you may be putting yourself at risk for infection with Salmonella enteritidis, a bacterium that can be found in shell eggs. Cooking the egg or egg-containing food product to at least 140 F (60oC) kills the bacteria. So answer Ceating the baked productwill earn you two points.
You’ll get two points for answer B, also. Foods containing raw eggs, such as homemade ice cream, cake batter, mayonnaise, and eggnog, carry a Salmonella risk, but their commercial counterparts don’t. Commercial products are made with pasteurized eggseggs that have been heated sufficiently to kill bacteria. Commercial preparations of cookie dough are not a food hazard. If you want to sample home-made dough or batter or eat other foods with raw-egg-containing products, use pasteurized eggs.
7. C or D will earn you two points each; answer B, one point. Bleach and commercial kitchen cleaning agents used according to directions are the most effective at getting rid of bacteria. Hot water and soap does a good job, too, but may not kill all strains of bacteria. Water may get rid of visible dirt, but not bacteria. Also, be sure to keep dishcloths and sponges clean because these materials harbor bacteria.
8. Answers A and C are worth two points each. There are potential problems with B and D. When you let dishes sit in water a long time, it creates a soup full of nutrients for bacteria. If washing dishes by hand, wash them all within two hours. Also, it’s best to air-dry them so you don’t handle them while they’re wet.
9. The only correct practice is C. Give yourself two points if you picked it. Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, especially raw meat, poultry and fish. If you have an infection or cut on your hands, wear rubber or plastic gloves. Wash gloved hands just as often as bare hands because the gloves can pick up bacteria.
10. Give yourself two points if you picked B or C. Food safety experts recommend thawing foods in the refrigerator or the microwave oven or putting the package in a water-tight plastic bag submerged in cold water and changing the water every 30 minutes. Do not thaw meat, poultry and fish products on the counter or in the sink without cold water. When microwaving, follow package directions. Foods defrosted in the microwave oven should be cooked immediately after thawing.
Rating Your Home’s Food Practices
- 20 points: Feel confident about the safety of foods served in your home.
- 12 to 19 points: Reexamine food safety practices in your home. Some key rules are being violated.
- 11 points or below: Take steps immediately to correct food handling, storage and cooking techniques used in your home. Current practices are putting you and other members of your household in danger of food-borne illness.