Fairs, Fun and Food Safety!
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Fairs, Fun and Food Safety!

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A great resource for 4-H Judges Training, this power point covers food science,. food safety, and all those unique issues related to county and state fair food exhibits. Used for Nebraska Judges......

A great resource for 4-H Judges Training, this power point covers food science,. food safety, and all those unique issues related to county and state fair food exhibits. Used for Nebraska Judges training and presented at NEAFCS and NAE4-HA national meetings for Extension professionals.

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  • After discussing the safety of a product such as this with two fermentation experts at Cornell University and two experts at Oregon State and Washington State, Donna L. Scott, Senior Extension Associate in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University, has concluded that there is little risk of contracting foodborne illness from properly prepared and handled starters, whether or not they contain milk. Properly prepared starters are safe because they become acidic due to the fermentation action of lactic acid-forming bacteria present in the mixture. These bacteria and the acid environment formed inhibit the growth of other bacteria, but do allow yeast, if added, to grow and help leaven bread products.
  • These all have enough acidity to prevent the growth of C. Botulinum. These foods may be water processed. Only sugar, spices, more fruit, FruitFresh or other anti-browning product and thickening agents such as pectins or starches should be added to a high acid product. Eggs, milk, vegetables, and other ingredients should not be added unless the recipe is from a reputable source.


  • 1. Know how. Know now.FAIRS, FUN, ANd …Food Safety? 4-H Foods & Nutrition Amy Peterson, MS RD, Extension Educator State Fair 4-H Foods Superintendent
  • 2. THANK YOU!!Thanks to the new Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island, weare able to judge quicker and more efficiently! All 2,000 ofour 4-H Food Exhibits have been judged in one day in thepast two years! For this reason, we will be requested judgeson one day only, Wednesday, August 22, 2012. Volunteerswill be needed on both Wednesday, August 22nd & ThursdayAugust 23rd to help with the judging and display process.
  • 4. Commercially prepared mixes are allowed in theTasty Tidbits Creative Mixes (Class 2) exhibitONLY. Prepared baking mixes, biscuit mixes, orother pre-made mixes entered in other categorieswill be lowered a ribbon placing.
  • 5. Ingredients that the4-H’er cannot legallypurchase, such as beer,whiskey, rum, etc. may notbe used in any recipe orFoods exhibit.Exhibits that includealcohol in the recipe willbe disqualified.
  • 6. Fresh fruit is not appropriate for any bakedproduct due to spoilage. (ex. fresh fruit tart)All fruit must be cooked.
  • 7. Beginning Foods and Nutrition Exhibits will nolonger be one of the exhibits sent to theNebraska State Fair. This would be the projectsof Six Easy Bites and include Cookies andMuffins. This IS still a county based project. There are no longer any static exhibit categories that are specifically beginning 4-H projects in any area (Clothing, Photography, etc). This is to stay consistent with the other exhibit categories and to make getting an exhibit selected for the State Fair a goal to achieve in the future.
  • 8. There are several updated examples given todescribe a Healthy Baked Product in Tasty Tidbits.Baked good must be made with lesssugar, fat or salt, OR using whole grainOR altering the recipe for specificallergies/food intolerances OR alteredusing a sugar or fat substitute. Exhibitmust include ¾ of baked product or 4muffins or cookies on a paper plate.May be baked in a disposable pan.Include original recipe and alteredrecipe. Write what you learned aboutproducts made from an altered recipe insupporting information
  • 9. A Unique Baked Product exhibit has beenadded to Tasty Tidbits. Unique Baked Product (any recipe, at least 3/4 of baked product or 4 muffins or cookies on a paper plate. May be baked in a disposable pan.) Recipe must contain a surprise ingredient and MUST not use a mix (ex. Cantaloupe Quick Bread, Pork & Bean Bread, etc). Write what you learned about making this unique item with an unusual ingredient. What was the anticipated outcome? Would you make it again ?
  • 10. The Cultural Food DISPLAY Exhibit hasbeen deleted from Foodworks. The number of entries each year has steadily declined. After further evaluation, it was decided to eliminate it. The Cultural Food Exhibit as a food product is still an exhibit. The name of the country, culture or region should be included as part of the supporting information with the recipe, as well as some background information about the country or culture the food item is representing.
  • 11. A Family Foods Tradition exhibit hasbeen added to Foodworks. This is inplace of the Cultural Food ExhibitDisplay. Family Food Traditions – (any recipe, at least 3/4 of baked product or 4 muffins or cookies on a paper plate. May be baked in a disposable pan.) Any baked item associated with family tradition and heritage. Entry must include (A) recipe, (B) tradition or heritage associated with preparing, serving the food, (C) where or who the traditional recipe came from.
  • 12. Food Preservation Criteria hasnow. Know how. Know beenclarified. RECIPE /LABELING - See http://food.unl.edu/web/preservation/home for current USDA guidelines, how to find your Nebraska altitude, and proper procedures for food preservation. Write plainly on a label and paste or tape securely on jar bottom. Specialized sticky labels not required.University of Nebraska–Lincoln
  • 13. All canned foods must include the followinginformation on the label of the item: 1. Type of food, 2. Method of preservation, 3. Processing time and altitude 4. Pressure (if appropriate), 5. Date Processed, Source of recipe and/or method of preservation. (If a publication, include name and date) CURRENT USDA GUIDELINES FOR FOOD PRESERVATION METHODS MUST BE USED.
  • 14. FYI – Nebraska Altitudes Most 4-H’ers in Nebraska will have to adjust the processing times of their canned foods because most of the state is 1,000 feet about sea level. Make sure you ask what the altitude is in the county you are judging! Only some areas close to the Missouri River in Eastern Nebraska are lower than 1,000. Did the 4-H’er check with the local Extension office for the proper altitude for the county?
  • 15. All dried foods must include the followinginformation on the label of the item:1. Recipe and recipe source2. Method of pretreatment3. Drying method and drying time.Write plainly on label and paste or tape securely toback of a self sealing bag. Securely attach officialentry card to exhibit. Multiple jar exhibits should becontained in a small undecorated box. Use a rubberband or "twisty" to keep exhibit containing 3 selfsealing bags together.
  • 16. 4-H Food Projects are unique. They aremade the day before, brought in thehot sun to a building in the country,tasted by the judge and then put ondisplay.
  • 17. Is this food exhibit safe? Ask yourself these questions before you judge the exhibit:  Does this product require refrigeration?  Would you eat this product at room temperature?  Will this product hold up to it’s standard as it is evaluated by a judge or on display for the public?
  • 18. Winning the Food Safety Game Baked Goods Pies and Pastries Specialty Food Exhibits Food Preservation
  • 19. Baked GoodsIt’s more thanjust keepingfingers out ofthe cookiedough….
  • 20. Topping it Off…Icings and frostings madewith RAW eggs are notacceptable.Egg white rinses brushedon prior to baking areacceptable.
  • 21. Acceptable creamcheese frostings have aratio of 4 cups sugar per8 ounces of creamcheese. Whipped cream cheese frostings without powdered sugar are NOT acceptable.
  • 22. Frostings may bemade with meringuepowder or powderedsugar, milk, andflavorings and still beconsidered safe.
  • 23. Caramel rolls andpineapple upsidedown cake are alsoacceptable.(And quite tasty tojudge, too!)
  • 24. The high sugar content of the frostings will not support bacterial growth.
  • 25. Cream cheese fillings or melted cheesetoppings may result in an unsafe food productby judging time due to heat and humidity andwill be disqualified.
  • 26. Pies and Pastries
  • 27. Pecan and walnut pies are consideredsafe, if made from a traditional recipeusing eggs, sugars, and have no addedwater or milk. There is not enough moisture in this type of pie to support microbial growth.
  • 28. Recipes that include added water or milk are NOT acceptable. This includes custards and cream filled pies.Bacteria can multiply quickly in moist desserts thatcontain eggs and dairy products. Pies that are madewith pumpkin, custard or cream based need to berefrigerated.
  • 29. Can you use a pie crustwith an egg in the recipe?There is no known food safety issue with a pie crust made with an egg baked into it.
  • 30. Egg crust recipesthat are “washed”with eggs or whitesbefore filling arenot considered agood choice for acounty fair exhibit.
  • 31. Specialty Foods
  • 32. Can you bake bread or cakes in a can or jar? It is not considered safe to bake in a canning jar because the jar is sealed during the cooling process, creating an anaerobic environment that may be a potential botulinum risk.
  • 33. What about baking in bags??  Do not use brown paper bags from grocery or other stores for cooking. They are not sanitary, may cause a fire, and can emit toxic fumes. Intense heat may cause a bag to ignite, causing a fire in the oven.The ink, glue, and recycled materials in paper bags can emit toxicfumes when they are exposed to heat. Instead, use purchasedoven cooking bags."SOURCE: www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/pubs/altroute.htm
  • 34. What about recipes with alcohol? Recipes made with alcohol in them are not allowed for 4-H food project exhibits. Even though the alcohol may “bake out” during food preparation, the 4-H’er is not of legal age to purchase or possess the alcohol, thus it is not appropriate for any recipe to have alcohol in it. Keep this in consideration for recipe files and menu plans, as well.
  • 35. FYI – Homemadevanilla extractmade by soakingbeans in liquor isstill consideredalcohol.
  • 36. Can you cook in a clay pot? Food and food preservation exhibits should be prepared and baked in food grade utensils and containers. Non-glazed or those with a food grade glaze terracotta baking pots are safe. Some other pots may have a lead based glaze on them and should be labeled for “non- food use”.
  • 37. What about friendship bread or sourdough starter recipes?Although research hasshown there is little risk ofcontracting foodborne illnessfrom properly prepared andhandled starters breads,these are not recommendedrecipes to be using forcounty fair exhibits.
  • 38. Can you use a paper bag in a pan to prevent sticking? Only if the bag is of food grade; most grocery store bags are not food grade. Parchment or wax paper may be used. Cut the paper slightly smaller than the pan size and let it set 10 – 15 minutes prior to removing from pan. Peel paper off and continue cooling.
  • 39. Can sour cream be used in a recipe for the fair? If the sour cream, or other cream based food is mixed in and fully cooked, it is considered safe. This means mixed in…., not layered! It is usually added to the other ingredients before the flour is mixed in.
  • 40. What about cream cheese in cookies or brownies?  If the cream cheese provides the fat in the recipe and is a part of the batter, not layered, it is considered safe.  If the cream cheese is layered or a filling in the product, the moisture level is greater and the food item would need to be refrigerated to prevent microbial growth. NOT like this!
  • 41. What about frosting with heavy cream?This would be considered afood safety hazardbecause there is notenough sugar in the recipe,requiring the food item toneed refrigeration.
  • 42. Are lemon bars a safe food exhibit?? If the lemon bar recipe does not contain added water, milk, or cream, it is considered safe. The food item has a relatively low pH and little free water.
  • 43. What about filled cupcakes? Cupcakes filled with a cream cheese mixture need to be refrigerated after baking so are not appropriate to be used for a county or state fair exhibit.
  • 44. Food Preservation
  • 45. This isn’t your grandma’s kitchen… It’s important to make sure the 4-H’er uses current canning principles!
  • 46. Purple Ribbon Rules 1. Current USDA processing methods are followed for all food preservation. 2. Standard canning jars are used. Jelly glasses or half pint jars may be used for jellies and preserves. 3. Jams, preserves and marmalades, fruit, tomatoes and pickled vegetables MUST be processed in a boiling water bath. 4. Tomatoes may be processed by a boiling water bath or pressure canner. 5. All non-acid vegetables and meats must be processed in a pressure canner.
  • 47. Where do safe recipes come from? Only basic recipes and processes that have been tested should be used. Cookbooks that indicated that they use the most current USDA guidelines for processing times on recipes would be considered safe to use.
  • 48.  RECIPES  PROCESSING  Ingredients  Time  Method  Temperature  PressureRecipes for processed foods(except salsa) may originatefrom any source, howeverthey must be PROCESSEDby approved and currentUSDA processing methods.
  • 49. Safe Recipe Sources USDA Home Canning Guide (1994 editions and beyond) State Extension Publications So Easy to Preserve (5th ed.) Ball Canning Guide (Ball Blue Book – 1994 editions and beyond) Although these are not the most current, the processing information is accurate for food safety, according to Extension Specialists at the Iowa State University
  • 50. Boys and Girls Club Work, canning demonstration, 1920. Minnesota Historical Society Photography Collection • SA1.31 r30, 81684Any canning recipe older than 1990 is no longer safe to use. TheUSDA changed and updated the approved canning methods in1994. Processing times are much more precise, based on acid pHfactors and YOUR specific altitude.
  • 51. Picky about processing… Processing times vary with the product being canned and the size of the container. Processing times vary because of the altitude – the higher the altitude the longer the processing time.
  • 52. What is the difference between raw and hot pack? RAW PACK is the practice of filling jars with raw, unheated food. Acceptable for canning low-acid foods, but allows more rapid quality losses in acid foods heat processed in boiling water. HOT PACK is the hating of raw food in boiling water or steam and filling it hot into jars.
  • 53. How does the size of the container matter? Each jar is different and may take a different amount of time to get all the contents at the right temperature. Quart jars require longer processing times than pint jars and 12 ounce jars are processed like pint jars.
  • 54. Spicy Tips Spices in moderation when added to low acid foods will not affect the processing. An increase in materials may increase the viscosity of the food and increase the time needed to heat the food.
  • 55. Why are the ingredients so important in canning foods? High acid or low acid distinction. Must be below 4.6 pH to be a high acid food product. *Clostridium botulinum may grow and produce botulinum toxin at levels above 4.6 pH.
  • 56. FYI – High and Low Acid Foods Most fruits fall BELOW the 4.6 pH level Most vegetables are ABOVE the 4/6 pH level Foods that are BELOW 4.6 pH are safe to water process Foods that are ABOVE 4.6 pH or have ingredients that are ABOVE 4.6 pH must be:  Acidified  Processed in a pressure canner
  • 57. High AcidFoods Apples Berries Peaches Cherries Pears Grapes Nectarines Pie fillings from these ingredients
  • 58.  The point is to get the product HOT enough to kill the bacteria. Boiling water baths never exceed 212º F, and may be even less at higher altitudes. This will kill many bacteria but not C. Botulinum. High acid foods have the acidity to prevent the growth of this toxin.
  • 59. Mixed pH Foods Must be acidified with vinegar or lemon juice to be water processed. The pH of the entire mixture must be below 4.6. Example:  Salsa recipe that contains tomatoes, chilies, and green peppers is a low acid food and must be processed in a pressure cooker.  Adding vinegar or acid ingredients can overcome this – if the recipe is from a reputable source.
  • 60. Low Acid Foods Meats Vegetables Must be processed in pressure cooker to kill C. Botulinum. Recipe must be from reputable source to verify the recipe and the process.
  • 61.  Time and temperature are critical in pressure canner cooking. Pressure cooker temperatures will exceed 212ºF. 10# pressure has temperatures near 240ºF, 15# near 250ºF. This will kill the bacteria if it is held at long enough time and the right amount of pressure.
  • 62. What’s the difference between pressure canners? The difference is in how the pounds of pressure are measured.  Weighted gauges "jiggle" or rock several times a minute when they are maintaining the correct pressure and are measured in 5# increments.  Dial gauge canners have a dial indicator to measure pressure in the canner and measured in 1# increments. SOURCE: http://www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/htmpubs/images/canning3pg.jpg
  • 63. What about other methods or canning?In open kettle cooking, food is cooked andthen packed into hot jars and sealedwithout processing.Open kettle canning, or processing of jarsin ovens, microwaves, or dishwashers arenot safe because the temperature reachedin this type of canning does not reach highenough temperatures to kill all the bacteriathat may be present.
  • 64. Forget Canning Fresh SalsaMost fresh salsa recipes arelow acid foods, like onionsand peppers, mixed with highacid foods, such as tomatoes.Although the acid ingredientshelp preserve fresh salsa,extra acid must be added to Use vinegar that is at leastcanned salsa because the 5% acidity or bottled lemonnatural acidity will not be high juice.enough. The best way to store fresh salsa is in the freezer.
  • 65. Why do you need lemon juice when canning tomatoes? Lemon juice, or food grade citric acid or 5% acidity vinegar, are required as part of the food processing method. These help assure that the food product is acidic enough. If it is left out, it is now considered an unsafe processing method and should not be considered a qualified canned food product.
  • 66. Are homemade marinades or vegetablesin oil safe to exhibit?No. Most homemade marinades andvegetable oil products will not havesufficient acidity to be shelf stable atroom temperatures. Since they needto be refrigerated, they are notsuitable for county fair exhibits.
  • 67. How come freezer jams can’t beused at fair? Freezer jam, and other uncooked recipes are fine for home use. However, since these jams require refrigeration, they are not considered safe for 4-H fair exhibits. It would, however, make a great poster discussion on different methods for making jam and the food safety considerations needed.
  • 68. What about gelatin jams? Packaged gelatin based jellies may not be appropriate – pectin makes a better product, but if the recipe calls for the correct processing times the product will most likely still be considered safe to use. Check the recipe carefully to make sure the product is safely prepared.
  • 69. Preparing the Perfect PiePie fillings can be safely using these three methods:  Commercial Thickener Products  Corn Starch  This may break down during the processing and result in a runny filling product  Boiling ingredients until they thicken  This may result in a poorer quality product Pie filling thickeners may also be added when the pie is being made, instead of when the canning procedure takes place.
  • 70. How about pie fillings? Clearing up confusion about Clear Jel® or other Commercial Thickeners:  Clear Jel® is a modified starch product.  It acts as a thickening agent for the filling.  This will not break down during processing, which would cause a runny filling.  Using corn starch or other starch based thickening agents will not change the pH of the filling, and are considered safe to use.
  • 71.  Rules and Regulations for Food Preservation Projects Guidelines for Judging 4-H Foods Projects.
  • 72. How to Be a Good Judge Familiarize yourself with the food to be judged.
  • 73. How to Be a Good JudgeBe informed. Know basic recipes andpreparation methods. A cake may havebeen made from a standard, or using ahealthier adaption. How was it mixed?The recipe and the method of mixing canmake a difference in the outcome of theproduct.
  • 74. How to Be a Good JudgeBe objective. You may be called upon toevaluate a food you dislike or a foodprepared differently from your favorite way.
  • 75. How to Be a Good JudgeBe positive. Point out what is good! Suggestwhat could be done to improve it – as alearning experience, not as a criticism.
  • 76. How to Be a Good JudgeExplain why a product has been given acertain rating.Be consistent with the judgments and ribbonplacings that you make.
  • 77. Remember – these are kids who are in thebeginning or the middle of the learningprocess, not a national cooking competition.We want excellence rewarded but we don’twant spirits crushed.
  • 78. Judging begins at the red ribbon.A red ribbon means exhibit is average. Itmeets all minimum requirements, showshonest effort has been made and, while thereare visible signs of needed improvement, theskill level of 4-H’er is improving.A blue ribbon exhibit exceeds minimumstandards. The exhibit may have somesmaller flaws needing improvement.A purple ribbon exhibit is outstanding andflawless, or there are only few small flaws.
  • 79. Most misunderstood ribbon in 4-Hcompetition is the white ribbon.White ribbon means the exhibitdoes not meet all minimumstandards. It DOES NOT mean theexhibit isn’t worthwhile.When a 4-H’er sees the ribbon ontheir exhibits; first question toask is “What have I learned andhow can I make it better?”
  • 80. 4-H is a learningexperience.Make it a positive one!
  • 81. Questions?
  • 82. Contact InformationFor further questions relating to 4-Hfoods projects, please email NebraskaState Fair 4-H Food Superintendents Amy Peterson apeterson3@unl.edu Cami Wells cwells1@unl.edu
  • 83. Know how. Know now.FAIRS, FUN, ANd …Food Safety? 4-H Foods & Nutrition Amy Peterson, MS RD, Extension Educator State Fair 4-H Foods Superintendent
  • 84. Know how. Know now.Resources1. 4-H Foods Judging Guide Adapted and Revised Edition, University of Nebraska- Lincoln Extension, 2007.2. Judges Guide for Foods and Nutrition Exhibits, Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, 2001.3. Judging Home Preserved Foods, National Center for Home Food Preservation, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service, 2003.4. Canning Breads and Cakes, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Georgia, 2000.5. Food Safety Recommendations for Acceptable Fair Exhibits, Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, 2001.6. 2006 State Fair Foods FAQ, Iowa State Extension, 2006 Reviewed by Alice Henneman, MS RD, Extension Educator, UNL ExtensionUniversity of Nebraska–Lincoln