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 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.
  • Fairs, Fun and Food Safety!

    1. 1. 4-HFoods&Nutrition Amy Peterson, MS RD, Extension Educator Cami Wells, MS RD, Extension Educator State Fair 4-H Foods Superintendents FAIRS, FUN, & Food Safety?
    2. 2. 4-H Food Projects are unique. They are made the day before, brought in the hot sun to a building in the county, tasted by the judge and then put on display.
    3. 3. 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?
    4. 4. Winning the Food Safety Game Basics of Baked Goods Perfecting Pies & Pastries Specialty Food Exhibit Ideas Fair Food Exhibit Review
    5. 5. Winning the Food Safety Game Basics of Baked Goods Perfecting Pies & Pastries Specialty Food Exhibit Ideas Fair Food Exhibit Review
    6. 6. Basics of Baked Goods It’s more than just keeping fingers out of the cookie dough….
    7. 7. Topping it Off… Icings and frostings made with RAW eggs are not acceptable. Egg white rinses brushed on prior to baking are acceptable.
    8. 8. It is not recommended to use a Cream Cheese based frosting. Buttercream frosting is acceptable.
    9. 9. Frostings may also be made with meringue powder or powdered sugar, milk, and flavorings and still be considered safe.
    10. 10. Caramel rolls and pineapple upside down cake are also acceptable. (And quite tasty to judge, too!)
    11. 11. The high sugar content of the frostings will not support bacterial growth.
    12. 12. Cream cheese fillings or melted cheese toppings may result in an unsafe food product by judging time due to heat and humidity and will be disqualified.
    13. 13. Fresh fruit is not appropriate for any baked product due to spoilage. (ex. fresh fruit tart) All fruit must be cooked.
    14. 14. Cream cheese fillings or melted cheese toppings may result in an unsafe food product by judging time due to heat and humidity and will be disqualified.
    15. 15. Meat, dried meat, meat substitute pieces (bacon bits, pepperoni, etc.) are not allowed in food exhibits. They may result in an unsafe food product by the time the item is judged due to unpredictable heat and/or weather conditions and will be disqualified. Image source: www.pillsbury.com
    16. 16. Winning the Food Safety Game Basics of Baked Goods Perfecting Pies & Pastries Specialty Food Exhibit Ideas Fair Food Exhibit Review
    17. 17. Perfecting Pies and Pastries
    18. 18. Pecan and walnut pies are considered safe, if made from a traditional recipe using eggs, sugars, and have no added water or milk. There is not enough moisture in this type of pie to support microbial growth.
    19. 19. Recipes that include added water or milk are NOT acceptable. This includes custards and cream filled pies. Bacteria can multiply quickly in moist desserts that contain eggs and dairy products. Pies that are made with pumpkin, custard or cream based need to be refrigerated.
    20. 20. Can you use a pie crust with an egg in the recipe? There is no known food safety issue with a pie crust made with an egg baked into it.
    21. 21. Egg crust recipes that are “washed” with eggs or whites before filling are not considered a good choice for a county fair exhibit.
    22. 22. Winning the Food Safety Game Basics of Baked Goods Perfecting Pies & Pastries Specialty Food Exhibit Ideas Fair Food Exhibit Review
    23. 23. Specialty Food Exhibit Ideas
    24. 24. 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.
    25. 25. 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 toxic fumes when they are exposed to heat. Instead, use purchased oven cooking bags." SOURCE: www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/pubs/altroute.htm
    26. 26. 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.
    27. 27. FYI – Homemade vanilla extract made by soaking beans in liquor is still considered alcohol.
    28. 28. 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”
    29. 29. What about friendship bread or sourdough starter recipes? Although research has shown there is little risk of contracting foodborne illness from properly prepared and handled starters breads, these are not recommended recipes to be using for county fair exhibits.
    30. 30. 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.
    31. 31. 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.
    32. 32. 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!
    33. 33. What about frosting with heavy cream? This would be considered a food safety hazard because there is not enough sugar in the recipe, requiring the food item to need refrigeration.
    34. 34. 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.
    35. 35. 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.
    36. 36. Winning the Food Safety Game Basics of Baked Goods Perfecting Pies & Pastries Specialty Food Exhibit Ideas Fair Food Exhibit Review
    37. 37. 2014 Nebraska 4-H Projects  Making Food for Me  Six Easy Bites  Tasty Tidbits  Fast Foods  You’re the Chef  Foodworks  Youth in Motion  Food Preservation
    38. 38. Making Food For Me
    39. 39. Making Food For Me Placemat  Colored and decorated. Lamination or protection with clear contact paper advised. (Center page in Save a Place For Me project book)
    40. 40. Food Cards  Neatly cut and colored Food Cards, in self-sealing plastic bag or other secure container (pages 67 - 69 Leaders Guide).
    41. 41. Grain Collage  Neatly cut and pasted pictures of grains cutout and displayed on collage. (Page 40 Leaders Guide).
    42. 42. Dairy Tasting Party  Completed Dairy Tasting Party form from Project Book (Page 17). May be copied or cut from manual.
    43. 43. Protein Collage  Neatly cut and pasted pictures of protein sources and foods displayed on collage. (Page 53 of Leaders Guide).
    44. 44. Healthy Snack  Four cookies, bars, muffins, etc., on a paper plate. or at least 1 cup of mix. (examples might include: snack mix made from a cereal base, no-bake or simple cookie or granola bar).  Example: Simple Snack Mix recipe in Leader’s Guide.
    45. 45. Six Easy BitesSix Easy Bites  Beginning level  County only project  Each county can decide fair projects  Suggestions:  Cookies  Muffins  Simple Snack
    46. 46. Fast Foods  Coffee Cake  Cost Comparison Exhibit  Food Technology Exhibit  Fast Foods Menu Planning  Fast Foods Recipe File
    47. 47. Tasty Tidbits  Healthy Baked Product***  Creative Mixes  Biscuits  Unique Baked Product***  Foam Cake
    48. 48. You’re the Chef  Loaf Quick Bread  White Bread  Whole Wheat or Mixed Grain Bread  Specialty Rolls  Dinner Rolls
    49. 49. Foodworks  Double Crust Fruit Pie  Family Food Traditions***  Cultural Food Exhibit  Cooking Up a Career  Specialty Bread  Specialty Pastry
    50. 50. YOUth in Motion  Poster, Scrapbook or Photo Display  Activity Bag  Healthy Snack Recipe File  Healthy Lifestyle Interview  Healthy Snack
    51. 51. Food Science and Technology  FOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Exhibit: Open to any 4-H’er enrolled in a Foods and Nutrition project. Show the connection between food and science as it relates to food preparation, food safety, or food production. Exhibit may be a poster or foam core board (not to exceed 22” by 30”), computer based presentation printed off with notes pages, if needed, and displayed in binder, an exhibit display, a written report in portfolio or notebook. Consider neatness and creativity.
    52. 52. Premier 4-H Science Award  Recognize 4-H youth static exhibits incorporating or demonstrating concepts from the areas of 4-H Science at the Nebraska State Fair.  Exhibits in all curriculum areas will be considered for the award (Healthy Lifestyles is a targeted area).  Youth will identify one exhibit to be considered for the Premier 4-H Science Award.  The Premier 4-H Science Award Application must be submitted along with a photograph of the exhibit to the County Extension Office by the county’s state fair entry deadline.
    53. 53. Premier 4-H Science Award
    54. 54. Food Preservation
    55. 55. This isn’t your grandma’s kitchen… It’s important to make sure the 4-H’er uses current canning principles!
    56. 56. 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.
    57. 57. All canned foods must include the following information with the exhibit: 1. Method of preservation (pressure canner or water bath canner) 2. Type of pack (raw pack or hot pack) 3. Altitude (and altitude adjustment, if needed) 4. Processing time 5. Number of pounds of pressure (if pressure canner used) 6. Recipe and source of recipe (if a publication, include name and date).
    59. 59. Safe Recipe Sources  USDA Home Canning Guide (1994 editions and beyond)  State Extension Publications  So Easy to Preserve (5th ed. and beyond)  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
    60. 60. Any canning recipe older than 1990 is no longer safe to use. The USDA changed and updated the approved canning methods in 1994. Processing times are much more precise, based on acid pH factors and YOUR specific altitude. Boys and Girls Club Work, canning demonstration, 1920. Minnesota Historical Society Photography Collection • SA1.31 r30, 81684
    61. 61. 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.  Only some areas close to the Missouri River in Eastern Nebraska are lower than 1,000 ft. Did the 4-H’er check with the local Extension office for the proper altitude for the county? Make sure you ask what the altitude is in the county you are judging!
    62. 62. 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.
    63. 63. 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.
    64. 64. 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.
    65. 65. 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.
    66. 66. 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.
    67. 67. High Acid Foods  Apples  Berries  Peaches  Cherries  Pears  Grapes  Nectarines  Pie fillings from these ingredients
    68. 68.  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.
    69. 69. 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.
    70. 70. 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.
    71. 71. 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
    72. 72. What about other methods or canning? In open kettle cooking, food is cooked and then packed into hot jars and sealed without processing. Open kettle canning, or processing of jars in ovens, microwaves, or dishwashers are not safe because the temperature reached in this type of canning does not reach high enough temperatures to kill all the bacteria that may be present.
    73. 73. Forget Fresh Salsa Most fresh salsa recipes are low acid foods, like onions and peppers, mixed with high acid foods, such as tomatoes. Although the acid ingredients help preserve fresh salsa, extra acid must be added to canned salsa because the natural acidity will not be high enough. Use vinegar that is at least 5% acidity or bottled lemon juice. The best way to store fresh salsa is in the freezer.
    74. 74. 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.
    75. 75. All dried foods must include the following information on the label of the item: 1. Recipe and recipe source 2. Method of pretreatment 3. Drying method and drying time. Write plainly on label and paste or tape securely to back of a self sealing bag. Securely attach official entry card to exhibit. Multiple jar exhibits should be contained in a small undecorated box. Use a rubber band or "twisty" to keep exhibit containing 3 self sealing bags together.
    76. 76. Are homemade marinades or vegetables in oil safe to exhibit? No. Most homemade marinades and vegetable oil products will not have sufficient acidity to be shelf stable at room temperatures. Since they need to be refrigerated, they are not suitable for county fair exhibits.
    77. 77. How come freezer jams can’t be used 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.
    78. 78. 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.
    79. 79. How about pie fillings?  Clearing up confusion about Clear Jel® or other Commercial Thickeners:  Clear Jel® is a modified starch product that produces excellent sauce consistency even after fillings are canned and baked.  It acts as a thickening agent for the filling.  This will not break down during processing, which would cause a runny filling.
    80. 80. ELIGIBILITY • 4-H Youth, 10-18 Years Of Age • Enrolled In Foods & Nutrition Project • Each County May Send Up To 4 Teams Of 2 Youth • Selection Of Teams At The Discretion Of The County • Example: Winners at a county contest (Table Toppers, Favorite Foods, Company’s Coming, Table Setting Contest) • Advanced Entries • Submitted to the State 4-H Office through county offices • $5 Entry Fee Per Person/Team • Teams Of 2 Youth • Choose An Appropriate Theme • Design A Tablescape & Place Setting • Create A Menu • Prepare One Food Item & Bring It To The Contest • Include Challenge Ingredient: 2014 - CORN • Live Interview With Judge • Use Technology During Interview • Display Table at State Fair for 2 Hours CONTEST OVERVIEW
    81. 81. USING TECHNOLOGY • Be Creative! • Present Using Technology • Ex: PowerPoint, Picture Story, Videos, Clipart, Audio, Using Laptop, iPad, Tablet • Can Use As Part Of Tablescape • Ex: Digital Picture Frame, Background Music, Menu Cards MAKING A BUNDT CAKE
    82. 82. TIPS • If proper food safety procedures are followed, 4-H’ers can bring a food that could be refrigerated and/or heated via a microwave. • Challenge ingredient DOES NOT have to be in the prepared food • Competitors can dress with theme, but should have a clover present on their clothing • If a team has a junior and a senior aged participant, they will compete at the senior level • Participants should bring their own card tables (if using a table), standard size, doesn’t have to be square • Set-up place settings for 2-3 people
    83. 83. RESOURCES Check out additional information and contest guidelines at: https://food.unl.edu/youth/projects • Polk County Company’s Coming Contest • Lancaster County Table Setting Contest • 4-H Foods Event Contest Description & Scoresheet • Archived informational webinar- https://connect.unl.edu/p5apdvmwxdc/
    84. 84. Rules and Regulations for Food Preservation Projects and Guidelines for Judging 4-H Foods Projects. Available at http://food.unl.edu/youth
    85. 85. How to Be a Good Judge Familiarize yourself with the food to be judged.
    86. 86. How to Be a Good Judge Be informed. Know basic recipes and preparation methods. A cake may have been made from a standard, or using a healthier adaption. How was it mixed? The recipe and the method of mixing can make a difference in the outcome of the product.
    87. 87. Remember – these are kids who are in the beginning or the middle of the learning process, not a national cooking competition. We want excellence rewarded but we don’t want spirits crushed.
    88. 88. Judging begins at the red ribbon. A red ribbon means exhibit is average. It meets all minimum requirements, shows honest effort has been made and, while there are visible signs of needed improvement, the skill level of 4-H’er is improving. A blue ribbon exhibit exceeds minimum standards. The exhibit may have some smaller flaws needing improvement. A purple ribbon exhibit is outstanding and flawless, or there are only few small flaws.
    89. 89. Most misunderstood ribbon in 4-H competition is the white ribbon. White ribbon means the exhibit does not meet all minimum standards. It DOES NOT mean the exhibit isn’t worthwhile. When a 4-H’er sees the ribbon on their exhibits; first question to ask is “What have I learned and how can I make it better?”
    90. 90. 4-H is a learning experience. Make it a positive one!
    91. 91. Questions?
    92. 92. Resources 1. 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 Extension