What's Your Summer Food Safety IQ?
By Diane Van, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service
Summer holidays provide us with a much needed break from school and work, but that doesn’t mean that we should take a break from being smart about food safety. If anything, we need to be more careful, since foodborne illnesses increase during the summer.
Test your summer food safety IQ by taking this short quiz. You’ll find the answers at the bottom of this blog.
- Why do foodborne illnesses increase during the summer?
- Bacteria, including those that cause foodborne illness, tend to multiply faster when the temperatures are warm
- People are cooking and eating outside more, away from the refrigerators, thermometers, and washing facilities of a kitchen.
- Both (a) and (b).
- You’re having a cookout in the backyard, and the hamburgers are ready for the grill. How can you tell if the burgers are done and safe to eat?
- They have been cooked for at least 4 minutes on each side.
- A thermometer inserted in the middle of the patties registers at least 160 °F.
- They are brown in the middle and no pink is showing.
- The burgers are done, and you’re ready to take them off the grill. Is it safe to put the cooked burgers back on the plate that held the raw meat?
- Yes, as long as you wipe off the plate with a paper towel.
- Yes, because the burgers are thoroughly cooked.
- No, because any bacteria in the raw meat or juices could contaminate the cooked burgers.
- It’s 3:00 p.m. and you just finished making fresh salsa for a party that begins at 6:00 p.m. Is it safe to leave the salsa out on the counter for three hours, until the party begins?
- Yes, because the acid in the tomatoes will keep harmful bacteria from growing.
- No, because bacteria grows rapidly in food at room temperature.
- No, because your family might eat it all before the party starts.
- You want to make some homemade ice cream, and the recipe calls for eggs. You’ve heard that raw eggs may be contaminated with Salmonella. What should you do?
- Use an egg substitute product or pasteurized eggs instead of raw eggs.
- Cook and chill the milk before adding the eggs.
- Don’t worry about it. It’s never made you sick in the past, has it?
- 1c: The combination of warm weather and outdoor meals can be deadly. Check out Foodborne Illness Peaks in Summer - Why? to learn more.
- 2b: You can’t rely on timing or the appearance of meat to tell that it’s done. Find out why the USDA recommends using a food thermometer.
- 3c: Be smart. Keep foods apart. Don’t cross-contaminate.
- 4b: Never leave perishable food out of the refrigerator for more than two hours (or one hour if the temperature is over 90 °F. Learn more about how to keep salsa and guacamole safe.
- 5a: Check out these options for making homemade ice cream safely.
So, how did you do? Remember, even if you don't have all of the answers, we do. We're available by email, phone, and even live chat.
Hi I just got 1 wrong, I guess I need to invest in a food thermometer! I run a school fair in the Sunmmer with a barbeque and I always am very cautious about the burgers being done this gives me a much better guide. Thank you
I appreciate the information on food safety. As a parent you always want to make sure yoru kids are not eating un cooked food. I wonder how the people who like ultra rare steaks will think about this