There is a lot to learn about food safety, from killing off pathogenic bacteria to prevent spreading foodborne illnesses, to how to properly prepare an allergy-safe meal, and much more. However, when you get down to it, it’s really not that complicated or difficult.
Let’s see what these elementary school students know about these food safety topics.
How Do You Kill Bacteria?
What happens when bacteria gets too hot?
Heating up food kills off bacteria and reduces it to a safe level. That’s why it is important to heat TCS food to its recommended minimum internal cooking temperature.
What happens when bacteria gets too cold?
Keeping food cold slows the rate at which bacteria can multiply, keeping the amount of bacteria at a safe level until it’s time to use. Properly storing and refrigerating TCS food and keeping it out of the temperature danger zone (40°F - 140°F) will prevent pathogenic bacteria from multiplying and causing a foodborne illness.
When Does Food Go Bad?
These kids got it: if food is squishy, bruised, or moldy, THROW IT OUT!
If there is mold on food, can you just scrape it off?
No, you should not just scrape it off. If you see mold on anything, it’s time to throw the whole thing out.
What Do Health Inspectors Do?
Health inspectors check to make sure that everything is up to code and check for violations.
Are health inspectors our friends or the enemy?
If you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, they are your friends. But if you’re doing something unsafe, they might not be your friend. Regardless, it is important to take them seriously, as it is their job to make sure everyone is always food safe.
When at a self-serve buffet, do not use your bare hands. Use the tongs provided, and do not use the same one for different foods. This prevents cross-contamination as well as allergen cross-contact.
What should you do if you see this at a buffet?
If you see someone using their hands, mixing up the serving utensils, or sneezing on the food, you should alert the staff immediately so that someone can switch it out for fresh, safer food.
What are Food Allergies or Intolerance?
People can have a food allergy to any number of foods, although there are 8 common food allergens.
Food allergens can be hidden in food, accidentally added in, or have proteins prevent due to cross-contact.
What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction?
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to a food allergen can include:
- Flushing/redness of the skin and hives
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- A sudden fall in blood pressure causing weakness, dizziness, and even unconsciousness
- Difficulty in swallowing or speaking due to the swelling of the throat and tongue
- Difficulty breathing due to constricting of the airways
- Severe asthma
- Collapse & unconsciousness (anaphylactic shock)
These can range from minor to life-threatening.
Is gluten intolerance the same as a food allergy?
A wheat allergy is different than gluten intolerance or sensitivity. Similar to lactose intolerance, people with a gluten intolerance can eat gluten without life-threatening side effects, but it will cause them discomfort. Symptoms of a gluten sensitivity include brain fog, fatigue, gas, bloating, and headaches.
Also not a food allergy, there is also Celiac Disease. This is an autoimmune disease where ingesting gluten can cause damage to the small intestine, causing long-term health complications.
What should you do if you saw a rodent?
Don’t call the police or the animal shelter—tell your manager so that they can call a pest control specialist.
How long should you wash your hands?
Wash your hands for 20 seconds, or as long as it takes you to sing the ABCs.
What does HACCP stand for?
This one is a tricky one. HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, which according to the FDA, is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards during food production.
These kids are smart, but if you are handling food, you will need to learn more. To become smarter than a fifth grader when it comes to food safety, check out our food handler training.