Dinner and a movie date night? Ditch the leftovers, not your date! Remember, leftovers are only safe for 2 hours at room temperature and won’t last through a movie - and only 1 hour if the temperature is over 90°F.
After that time, bacteria growth can occur and cause food illness. Likewise, during warmer months bacteria multiply faster – so keeping food safe is more challenging.
Biological food hazards are biological agents that can pose a threat to human health and include bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Bacteria and viruses are responsible for most foodborne illnesses and are the biggest threat to food safety.
The most common result of infections from biological agents is gastroenteritis - inflammation of the stomach and small intestine. Also called the “stomach flu”, gastroenteritis is generally acquired through consumption of contaminated food or water, or through direct contact with an object, surface, or person - as a result of poor sanitation and/or hygiene.
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus and the most common viral foodborne illness. Norovirus infection is acquired by consuming produce (fruit and vegetables) irrigated with contaminated water contaminated with human or animal feces - or shellfish farmed or harvested in water contaminated with human sewage.
Because only a few norovirus particles can make people sick, infection can also occur by consuming food handled by a person infected with the virus - or being in direct contact with an object, surface, or person that has been infected.
Raw chicken and poultry may contain harmful bacteria and washing it does not remove the bacteria. This bacteria can also be spread to other items and food - if proper procedures are not followed. The only way to kill bacteria on chicken is by cooking it to a safe internal temperature - as measured by a food thermometer.
Raw poultry (turkey, chicken, duck, goose, quail, etc.) may contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter. Proper preparation, cooking, and storage procedures must be followed - or a foodborne illness can occur.