Food Safety Quiz

Originally posted on the Emmie Oddie website
Updated in June 2015 by the Manitoba Association of Home Economists

Here’s a quiz to see how food-safety savvy you are. There is lots of good information and advice in the answers.

  1. The best way to avoid food poisoning is to

(a) use bacterial soaps

(b) buy only organic food

(c) wash your hands with plain soap and water before and after handling food

(d) eat only at home, not at restaurants.


(c) Frequent and thorough handwashing is the No. 1 infection fighter. Plain soap will do – antibacterial products are not more effective and may contribute to drug-resistant bacteria. More people get food poisoning at home, though illness caused by restaurant meals is more likely to be reported.


  1. Cooked foods should be refrigerated within

(a) 30 minutes

(b) 2 hours

(c) 3 hours

(d) 4 hours


(b) If the weather is hot, reduce that to one hour. Remember to count the time it takes you to eat.


  1. Which are potential sources of foodborne illness?

(a) raw eggs, poultry, beef, seafood

(b) unwashed produce

(c) raw sprouts

(d) unpasteurized milk, apple juice and apple cider.


(all) It’s not just animal foods that can harbor microbes. Besides cooking meat to proper temperature and eggs until not runny, wash all produce (including organic, which is also susceptible to microbes) with plain water. People with weakened immune systems, as well as the very old and very young, should not eat raw sprouts, which have been linked to illness caused by E.coli and Salmonella bacteria.


  1. Which cutting board is safer?

(a) plastic

(b) wooden


Either is fine, as long as you scrub it with soap and water after cutting raw meat, poultry or fish on it. One advantage of plastic is that you can put it in the dishwasher. You may want to have different boards for raw meats and produce. Replace boards that have deep grooves or cracks.


  1. If you get sick from eating an egg salad sandwich left out too long, the most likely culprit is the

(a) bread

(b) eggs

(c) mayonnaise

(d) relish


(b) Bacteria thrive on high-protein foods such as eggs, tuna and chicken – not in store-bought mayo. Homemade mayonnaise, made from raw eggs (and no preservatives), however, can cause salmonella poisoning.


  1. True or false: Hard cheese with some surface mold does not need to be tossed.


True. Just cut off at least an inch (2.54 cm) beyond the mold. The same goes for hard fruits and vegetables, such as apples and potatoes. Soft fruits and cheeses with mold, however, should be discarded.


  1. True or false: Raw meats can be marinated at room temperature, because the marinade kills bacteria


False. Marinate all meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator. Do not add leftover marinade to the cooked meat unless you boil it first. Transfer the cooked meat to a clean platter, not back to the dish that held the raw meat.


  1. True or false: It’s safe to refreeze thawed or partially thawed foods.


True, as long as the food still has ice crystals or is below 4°C (40°F). Refreezing may, however, affect the food’s flavour and texture.


  1. True or false: Packaged salad greens labeled “prewashed” or “triple washed” don’t need further washing.


True. Greens and other vegetables washed at the processing plant and labeled as such are probably cleaner than home-washed greens can ever be (but you pay extra for the convenience). Other greens, not labeled as having been washed should be thoroughly washed.



  1. True or false: The “sniff” test is a reliable way to tell if food is tainted with bacteria.


False. You usually can’t smell or taste the microbes that cause food poisoning. Still, if food does smell bad, throw it out.

Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, March 2006.