Can Your Kitchen Pass the Food Safety Test?

Kitchen food safety refers to the practices and procedures that are put in place to ensure that food is safe to eat and free from harmful bacteria or other contaminants that could cause illness or disease. Here are some key points to keep in mind when it comes to kitchen food safety:

Cleanliness: One of the most important aspects of kitchen food safety is keeping everything clean. This means washing your hands before and after handling food, wiping down surfaces and utensils with hot, soapy water, and washing dishes thoroughly.

Separation: It's important to keep raw meats, poultry, and seafood separate from other foods to avoid cross-contamination. Use separate cutting boards, utensils, and containers for these foods, and make sure to store them in sealed containers or in the fridge to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Cooking temperatures: Cooking food to the proper temperature is crucial for killing any harmful bacteria that may be present. Make sure to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and seafood, and follow recommended cooking times and temperatures.

Storage: Proper storage is essential for preventing the growth of bacteria and other contaminants. Make sure to keep perishable foods refrigerated or frozen, and don't leave food out at room temperature for more than two hours.

Expiration dates: Always check expiration dates on food products before using them, and throw out anything that is past its expiration date or looks or smells off.

By following these basic guidelines, you can help ensure that the food you prepare in your kitchen is safe and healthy to eat.

Choose the answer that best describes the practice in your household, whether or not you are the primary food handler.

1. The temperature of the refrigerator in my home is:
a. 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 ° C)
b. 38 degrees Fahrenheit (-3.3 ° C)
c. I don't know; I've never measured it.

2. The last time we had leftover cooked stew or other food with meat, chicken or fish, the food was:
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

3. The last time the kitchen sink drain, disposal and connecting pipe in my home were sanitized was:
a. last night
b. several weeks ago
c. can't remember

4. If a cutting board is used in my home to cut raw meat, poultry or fish and it is going to be used to chop another food, the board is:
a. reused as is
b. wiped with a damp cloth
c. washed with soap and hot water
d. washed with soap and hot water and then sanitized

5. The last time we had hamburgers in my home, I ate mine:
a. rare
b. medium
c. well-done

6. The last time there was cookie dough in my home, the dough was:
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

7. I clean my kitchen counters and other surfaces that come in contact with food with:
a. water
b. hot water and soap
c. hot water and soap, then bleach solution
d. hot water and soap, then commercial sanitizing agent

8. When dishes are washed in my home, they are:
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

9. The last time I handled raw meat, poultry or fish, I cleaned my hands afterwards by:
a. wiping them on a towel
b. rinsing them under hot, cold or warm tap water
c. washing with soap and warm water

10. Meat, poultry and fish products are defrosted in my home by:
a. setting them on the counter
b. placing them in the refrigerator
c. microwaving

11. When I buy fresh seafood, I:
a. buy only fish that's refrigerated or well iced
b. take it home immediately and put it in the refrigerator
c. sometimes buy it straight out of a local fisher's creel

12. I realize people, including myself, should be especially careful about not eating raw seafood, if they have:
a. diabetes
b. HIV infection
c. cancer
d. liver disease

1. Answer B. The recommended temperature for a refrigerator is between 35-38°F (1.7-3.3°C). This temperature range will help to keep your food fresh and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. It's important to check the temperature regularly using a thermometer to ensure that it stays within this range. Additionally, make sure that the temperature settings are adjusted properly and that the door seals tightly to avoid air leaks.

2. Answer B. It is generally recommended to put cooked food into the refrigerator immediately after it has cooled down to room temperature, ideally within 2 hours of cooking. This is because leaving cooked food at room temperature for too long can allow harmful bacteria to grow, which can cause foodborne illness.

It is important to note that the temperature danger zone for food is between 40°F (4°C) and 140°F (60°C). Food should be kept out of this temperature range as much as possible to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. When storing cooked food in the refrigerator, it should be stored in airtight containers to prevent contamination from other foods, and should be eaten within a few days.

3. It's a good idea to sanitize your kitchen sink drain, disposal, and connecting pipe regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria, odors, and other harmful substances. Here are some general guidelines for how often you should sanitize these areas:

Kitchen sink drain: You should clean your kitchen sink drain once a week. You can use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar or a commercial drain cleaner to remove any food particles, grease, or other debris that may have accumulated in the drain.

Garbage disposal: You should clean your garbage disposal once a week. You can use a mixture of ice cubes and vinegar or lemon juice to help dislodge any food particles or other debris that may have built up in the disposal. You can also use a commercial garbage disposal cleaner to help sanitize the unit.

Connecting pipe: You should clean your connecting pipe once every few months. You can use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar or a commercial drain cleaner to help remove any buildup of grease or other debris in the pipe.

It's important to note that the frequency of cleaning may vary depending on how often you use your sink and disposal, as well as how much food waste you generate. If you notice any unusual odors or buildup in your drain or disposal, you may need to clean them more frequently.

4. Answer D. If a cutting board has been used to cut raw meat, poultry, or fish, it's important to properly clean and sanitize it before using it again to prevent cross-contamination and the potential spread of harmful bacteria.

Here are some steps you can follow to clean and sanitize a cutting board after using it to cut raw meat, poultry, or fish:

Scrape off any remaining bits of food with a spatula or scraper.
Wash the cutting board with hot, soapy water, using a scrub brush or sponge to thoroughly clean all surfaces.
Rinse the cutting board with hot water and dry it with a clean towel.
Sanitize the cutting board by either:
Using a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Apply the solution to the cutting board and let it sit for several minutes before rinsing it off with water and drying it with a clean towel.
Putting the cutting board in the dishwasher, if it is dishwasher safe.
Once you have cleaned and sanitized the cutting board, you can safely use it to chop other foods. However, it's important to remember to use separate cutting boards for different types of food, such as one for raw meat, poultry, or fish and another for fruits and vegetables, to prevent cross-contamination.

5. Answer C. The choice of how to cook a hamburger is a matter of personal preference, as long as the meat is cooked to a safe internal temperature to prevent foodborne illness. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), ground beef should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) to ensure that harmful bacteria are destroyed.

That being said, some people prefer their burgers cooked to varying degrees of doneness. Rare burgers, cooked to an internal temperature of 120-130°F (49-54°C), have a reddish center and are very juicy. Medium burgers, cooked to an internal temperature of 135-145°F (57-63°C), have a slightly pink center and are still fairly juicy. Well-done burgers, cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) or higher, are brown all the way through and tend to be less juicy.

Ultimately, the decision of how to cook a hamburger should be based on personal preference while also ensuring that it is cooked to a safe internal temperature.

6.  Answer C. Cookie dough can be sampled. However, it is important to note that raw cookie dough may contain raw eggs and uncooked flour, which can be a potential health risk. Raw eggs can carry harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, while uncooked flour may contain E. coli.

To reduce the risk of illness, it is recommended to avoid consuming raw cookie dough. Instead, you can try making cookie dough without raw eggs or by using pasteurized eggs, and heat-treated flour. Alternatively, you can purchase pre-made cookie dough that is specifically labeled as safe to eat raw.

If you do choose to sample raw cookie dough, be sure to do so in moderation and to follow safe food handling practices, such as washing your hands before and after handling the dough, and refrigerating or freezing any leftover dough.

7. Answer C or D. Cleaning kitchen counters and other surfaces that come in contact with food is an essential step to maintain food safety and prevent the spread of harmful bacteria. Here are some steps you can follow to clean your kitchen counters and other surfaces:

Remove any food debris and crumbs from the surface using a clean, dry cloth or paper towel.

Use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe the surface clean. You can use hot, soapy water to clean the surface thoroughly.

Rinse the cloth or sponge with clean water and wipe the surface again to remove any soap residue.

Dry the surface with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel.

Use a disinfectant spray or wipes that are safe for food contact surfaces. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper use, and let the surface air dry before using it again.

Clean any utensils or equipment that come in contact with food, such as cutting boards, knives, and countertops, with hot, soapy water and a scrub brush. Rinse them thoroughly with clean water, and allow them to air dry.

Remember to clean your kitchen surfaces regularly, especially after preparing raw meat, poultry, or seafood, and after any spills or messes.