Food Safety Myths


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What you don't know about food safety can hurt you! Don't be "myth"-led by these food safety myths.

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  • For more information: Learn more about the change in temperature recommendations at: and (retrieved June 22, 2011)
  • Food Safety Myths

    1. 1. Food Safety: What You DON'T Know CAN Hurt YOU!
    2. 2. <ul><li>University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County </li></ul>Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Dept. Alice Henneman, MS, RD Joyce Jensen, REHS, CP-FS I wish I’d known these things! Questions? Email Updated November, 2011. This is a peer-reviewed publication.
    3. 3. 10 Safety Myths <ul><li>Don’t be “myth”-led! </li></ul><ul><li>Following are the facts for 10 common food safety myths... </li></ul>
    4. 4. Myth 1 <ul><li>If it tastes okay, it’s safe to eat. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Fact 1 <ul><li>Don’t count on these to tell you if a food is safe to eat! </li></ul>Sight Smell Taste
    6. 6. Estimates of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. each year, about ... <ul><li>48 million people become ill </li></ul>3,000 people die
    7. 7. <ul><li>Would this many people eat something if they thought it tasted, looked or smelled bad? </li></ul>
    8. 8. Even if tasting would tell … <ul><li>A “tiny taste” may not protect you. </li></ul><ul><li>As few as 10 bacteria could cause some foodborne illnesses, such as E. coli ! </li></ul>Why risk getting sick?
    9. 9. Myth 2 <ul><li>If you get sick from eating a food, it was from the last food you ate. </li></ul>OOPS!
    10. 10. Fact 2 <ul><li>It can take ½ hour to 6 weeks to become sick from unsafe foods. </li></ul>
    11. 11. <ul><li>You usually feel OK immediately after eating and become sick later. </li></ul>
    12. 12. Foodborne illness is NOT a pretty picture! Hey guys, I have to throw up!
    13. 13. Myth 3 <ul><li>The worst that could happen to you with a foodborne illness is an upset stomach. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Fact 3 Diarrhea Fever Upset stomach Dehydration (sometimes severe) OOPS!
    15. 15. Less common, but possible severe conditions Paralysis Death Meningitis
    16. 16. Myth 4 <ul><li>If I’ve never been sick from the food I prepare, I don’t need to worry about feeding it to others. </li></ul>
    17. 17. Fact 4 <ul><li>Some people have a greater risk for foodborne illnesses. </li></ul>Is the food safe for everyone at the table? A food you can safely eat might make others sick.
    18. 18. People with a higher risk for foodborne illness Pregnant women Infants Young children and older adults People with weakened immune systems and individuals with certain chronic diseases
    19. 19. Myth 5 <ul><li>People never used to get sick from their food. </li></ul>
    20. 20. Fact 5 <ul><li>Many incidents of foodborne illness went undetected in the past. </li></ul>
    21. 21. <ul><li>Symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea were often, and still are, blamed on the “flu.” </li></ul>
    22. 22. Foodborne illness vs. flu <ul><li>More common in foodborne illness: </li></ul><ul><li>Gastrointestinal </li></ul><ul><li>Nausea </li></ul><ul><li>Vomiting </li></ul><ul><li>Diarrhea </li></ul><ul><li>More common in flu: </li></ul><ul><li>Respiratory </li></ul><ul><li>Chest discomfort </li></ul><ul><li>Cough </li></ul><ul><li>Nasal congestion </li></ul><ul><li>Sore throat </li></ul><ul><li>Runny or stuffy nose </li></ul>
    23. 23. More reasons for foodborne illnesses than in the past ... <ul><li>Bacteria have become more potent over the years. </li></ul>
    24. 24. Still more reasons ... <ul><li>Our food now travels farther with more chances for contamination. </li></ul>In days gone by, the chicken served at supper may have been in the hen house at noon!
    25. 25. Myth 6 <ul><li>As long as I left the lid on a food that has sat out too long, it is safe to eat. </li></ul>
    26. 26. Fact 6 Though food may be safe after cooking, it may not be safe later. Just one bacteria in the food can double in 20 minutes!
    27. 27. <ul><li>How many bacteria will grow from one bacteria left at room temperature for 7 hours ? </li></ul>
    28. 28. 2,097,152!
    29. 29. <ul><li>Refrigerate perishable foods within two hours at a refrigerator temperature of 40°F or lower. </li></ul>
    30. 30. <ul><li>On a hot day (90°F or higher), food should not sit out for more than one hour. </li></ul>
    31. 31. Myth 7 <ul><li>If you let a food set out for more than two hours, you can make it safe by heating it really hot! </li></ul>
    32. 32. Fact 7 <ul><li>Some bacteria, such as Staphylococcus (staph), produce toxins that are not destroyed by high cooking temperatures. </li></ul>Image: Content provider: CDC/Matthew J. Arduino, DRPH, Photo credit: Janice Haney Carr
    33. 33. <ul><li>Did you know “Staphylococcus” comes from a Greek word meaning “a bunch of grapes?” </li></ul>
    34. 34. Myth 8 <ul><li>If a hamburger is brown in the middle, it is cooked to a safe internal temperature. </li></ul>
    35. 35. Fact 8 <ul><li>1 out of 4 hamburgers turns brown before it has been cooked to a safe internal temperature. </li></ul>
    36. 36. Which ground beef patty is cooked to a safe internal temperature? A B
    37. 37. This IS a safely cooked hamburger (internal temperature of 160 º F) even though pink inside. A This is NOT a safely cooked hamburger. Though brown inside, it is undercooked. B
    38. 38. <ul><li>Research shows some ground beef patties look done at internal temperatures as low as 135 º F. A temperature of 160 º F is needed to destroy E. coli. </li></ul>
    39. 39. The ONLY way to know food has been cooked to a safe internal temperature is to use a food thermometer!
    40. 40. How to use a food thermometer <ul><li>Wash thermometer with hot soapy water before and after use. </li></ul><ul><li>Use before the food is expected to be “done.” </li></ul><ul><li>Place in the thickest part of the food, not touching bone, fat or gristle. </li></ul><ul><li>Compare reading to USDA recommended safe minimum internal temperatures. </li></ul>
    41. 41. <ul><ul><li>USDA has revised its recommended cooking temperature for all whole cuts (steaks, roasts, and chops) of meat, including pork, beef, lamb and veal to 145 °F and then allowing a 3 minute rest time before carving or consuming. </li></ul></ul>Photo courtesy of FSIS/USDA Image Library
    42. 42. <ul><ul><li>A “rest time” is the amount of time the product remains at the final temperature, after it has been removed from a grill, oven, or other heat source. </li></ul></ul>Photo courtesy of Cattlemen’s Beef Board & National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
    43. 43. <ul><ul><li>During the 3 minutes after meat is removed from the heat source, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise. This destroys pathogens and produces a product at its best quality. </li></ul></ul>
    44. 44. <ul><ul><li>3 temperatures to remember </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ground meats (including ground beef, veal, lamb, & pork): 160 °F with no rest time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All poultry (including ground chicken & turkey): 165 °F with no rest time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whole cuts of meat (including pork, beef, lamb, & veal steaks, roasts, & chops): 145 °F with addition of a 3 minute rest time </li></ul></ul>
    45. 45. <ul><ul><li>This change does NOT apply to ground meats, including ground beef, veal, lamb, and pork, which should be cooked to 160 °F and do not require a rest time. </li></ul></ul>Photo courtesy of Cattlemen’s Beef Board & National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
    46. 46. <ul><ul><li>The safe cooking temperature for all poultry products, including ground chicken and turkey, remains at 165 °F. </li></ul></ul>Photo courtesy of FSIS/USDA Image Library
    47. 47. Food thermometers & thin foods On an “instant-read” dial thermometer, the probe must be inserted in the side of the food so the entire sensing area (usually 2-3 inches) is positioned through the center of the food.
    48. 48. Food thermometers & thin foods When possible, use a digital thermometer to measure the temperature of a thin food. The sensing area is only ½- to 1-inch long and easier to place in the center of the food.
    49. 49. Digital and dial thermometers in thin foods <ul><li>Digital thermometer </li></ul><ul><li>Dial thermometer </li></ul>Photo courtesy of the Nebraska Beef Council
    50. 50. Myth 9 <ul><li>Meat and poultry should be washed before cooking. </li></ul>
    51. 51. Fact 9 <ul><li>Washing meat and poultry is NOT necessary or recommended. </li></ul>
    52. 52. <ul><li>Washing increases the danger of cross- contamination, spreading bacteria present on the surface of meat and poultry to: </li></ul><ul><li>ready-to-eat foods </li></ul><ul><li>kitchen utensils </li></ul><ul><li>counter surfaces. </li></ul>
    53. 53. <ul><li>Cooking meat and poultry to the recommended internal temperature will make them safe to eat. </li></ul>
    54. 54. Myth 10 <ul><li>We should be scared of eating almost everything! </li></ul>
    55. 55. Fact 10 <ul><li>“ ... the American food supply continues to be among the safest in the world.” </li></ul>Robert E. Brackett, Ph.D., Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, November 15, 2006
    56. 56. <ul><li>Proper food handling helps assure that food is safe to eat. 4 steps to follow... </li></ul>
    57. 58. Remember: When in doubt ... TOSS IT OUT!!!
    58. 59. Resources used: <ul><li>Alabama Cooperative Extension System. The Food Spoilers: Bacteria and Viruses. (Accessed June 15, 2010). </li></ul><ul><li>CDC. Food-Related Illness and Death in the United States. (Accessed June 21, 2010). </li></ul><ul><li>Robert E. Brackett, Ph.D., Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, November 15, 2006. (Accessed June 21, 2010). </li></ul><ul><li>USDA. “Is it done yet?” (Accessed June 21, 2010). </li></ul><ul><li>USDA. Safe Food Handling – How Temperatures Affect Food. (Accessed June 15, 2010). </li></ul><ul><li>USDA. Thermometers are Key. (Accessed June 21, 2010). </li></ul><ul><li>USDA. USDA Revises Recommended Cooking Temperature for All Whole Cuts of Meat, Including Pork, to 145 °F. (Accessed November 28, 2011). </li></ul><ul><li>USDA. Why Does USDA Recommend Using a Food Thermometer? (Accessed June 21, 2010). </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Bad Bug Book: Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins Handbook – Onset, Duration, and Symptoms of Foodborne Illness. Available at (Accessed June 15, 2010). </li></ul><ul><li>Source of images: Microsoft Image and Media Library, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Image Library, CDC image library, original graphics created by UNL Lancaster County Extension Office. </li></ul>
    59. 60. Thank you to the following people for reviewing this slide set ... <ul><li>Julie Albrecht, Ph.D, R.D. </li></ul><ul><li>Phil Rooney, Ph.D., CP-FS </li></ul><ul><li>Cindy Brison, M.S., R.D. </li></ul><ul><li>Zainab Rida, M.S., R.D. </li></ul><ul><li>Amy Stalp, Dietetic Student </li></ul><ul><li>Vicki Jedlicka, Extension Media Assistant </li></ul>
    60. 61. Extension is a Division of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln cooperating with the Counties and the United States Department of Agriculture. University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension educational programs abide with the nondiscrimination policies of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and the United States Department of Agriculture.