Can Your Kitchen Pass the Food Safety Test?

In the home, food safety concerns revolve around three main functions: food storage, food handling, and cooking. To see how well you're doing in each, take this quiz, and then read on to learn how you can make the meals and snacks from your kitchen the safest possible.

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 degrees Celsius)
b. 40 F (5 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. I 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 (140 F)
b. medium (160 F)
c. well-done (170 F)

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. made with raw eggs and refrigerated, then I sampled some of it
c. store-bought, and I sampled some of it
d. 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. washed and dried in an automatic dishwasher
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


Answers

1. Refrigerators should stay at 40 F (5 C) or less, so if you chose answer B, give yourself two points. If you didn't, you're not alone. According to the FDA, many people overlook the importance of maintaining an appropriate refrigerator temperature.

FDA's advice: According to surveys, in many households, the refrigerator temperature is above 50 F (10 C).

Measure the temperature with a thermometer and, if needed, adjust the refrigerator's temperature control dial.

A temperature of 40 F (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.

Freezing at zero F (minus 18 C) or less stops bacterial growth (although it won't kill bacteria already present).



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