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Food Safety Quiz

To increase your meat and poultry safety IQ  further, please read more about the answers to the questions below.

1. The food safety danger zone is between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F.  

TRUE.  Bacteria multiply much faster when held between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F. 

2: If a hamburger is no longer pink in the middle, it is safe to eat. 

FALSE.  Color is not an accurate indicator of doneness.  Always use a digital food thermometer to check the temperature. 

3. Turkey burgers and hamburgers should be cooked to the same internal temperature. 

FALSE  Hamburgers should be cooked to 160 degrees F while poultry burgers should be cooked to 165 degrees F. 

4. Muscle cuts like steak or roasts can be eaten rare or medium rare. 

TRUE.  Muscle cuts that have not been ground or pierced are sterile in the middle.  Searing the outside of a steak and cooking the inside to a temperature of approximately 140-145 degrees F is safe. 

5. Frozen meat and poultry can be defrosted on the counter.

FALSE  Defrost meat overnight in the refrigerator, microwave or in cold water.  Meat can enter the temperature “danger zone” when left on the counter overnight. 

6. Pregnant women and others with compromised immune systems should reheat lunch meats before consuming them.

TRUE.  Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that thrives in cold environments and is commonly found is soil, in drains of processing plants and sometimes in consumers’ refrigerators, can survive normal steps to prevent its presence on foods like lunch meats, hot dogs and unpasteurized soft cheeses.  Experts advise reheating hot dogs and luncheon meats to steaming hot before consuming them during pregnancy of if you are immunocompromised due to illness or advanced age. 

7. When grilling, it is acceptable to use the plate that held raw meat to serve cooked meat.

FALSEWash any plate, cutting board or utensil that contacted raw meat in hot, soapy water prior to using it with cooked meat products. 

8. Use separate cutting boards for produce and meat/poultry products.

TRUE.  A cutting board that held raw meat can contaminate other foods cut on the surface later.  A single cutting board can be used if it is thoroughly washed in hot, soapy water between uses, but it is smart to use separate cutting boards. 

9. When cooking meat or poultry with a thermometer, avoid touching any bones, the grill, or the pan with the thermometer. 

TRUE. Doing so can affect the accuracy of the reading.

10.  Nitrite in cured meats is added for color, flavor and food safety.

TRUE. Sodium nitrite has been used as a curing ingredient in meats for hundreds of years to enhance flavor and color and is absolutely critical in preventing botulism, the most deadly of foodborne illnesses.

11. People consume more nitrite from vegetables and saliva than from cured meats.

TRUE.  Ninety three percent of human nitrite intake comes from vegetables, which contain nitrate, which is converted to nitrite in the mouth.

12. Freezing food kills bacteria.

FALSE.  Freezing only slows growth, but some bacteria will survive.

13. You should let unconsumed or leftover meat and poultry cool before putting it into the refrigerator or freezer. 

FALSE  It’s important to get your leftovers from dinner into the refrigerator as quickly as possible.  Larger portions should be divided into smaller portions and put in shallow, lidded containers to lower the temperature faster.  If left out too long, the meat is subject to “danger zone” temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F where bacteria grow rapidly.

14. When cooking meat or poultry, the best place to check the temperature is the center of the cut. 

FALSE  The best place to take the temperature is in the center of the thickest section of the cut.  The thickest part might not necessarily be the center of the cut. 

15. The prevalence of the pathogenic bacteria E. coli O157:H7 on ground beef products has increased in the last decade.

FALSE  USDA sampling of ground beef shows that E. coli O157:H7 has decreased 45 percent since 2000.


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