Food Safety Tips for Taste Tests

  • food safety for taste tests

Nutrition demonstrations and taste tests are opportunities to model and instruct people about good nutrition and food safety. Help everyone stay safe by following the food safety tips below. 

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Sample Preparation 

  • Anyone who prepares or handles food must first wash their hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is not adequate for this purpose.  
  • Cuts must be covered with a clean bandage and glove over the bandage. 
  • People who are sick should not prepare food for others. Wait 24 hours after symptoms subside before preparing or serving food. 
  • Make sure utensils, counters, sinks, cutting boards, dishes are washed with hot soapy water before and after use. Clean spills immediately. 
  • Fresh produce from packages labeled as “ready-to-eat,” “washed,” or ‘triple washed” do not need to be re-washed. All other fresh produce, including those with skin and rinds that are not eaten, must be rinsed and/or scrubbed under drinkable running water. No special washing solutions are needed. 
  • Foods that will be cooked or served hot must be brought to the proper temperatures as measured with a clean, calibrated thermometer. 
  • Food cooked in the microwave should be covered, stirred, and rotated for even cooking. If food is thawed in the microwave, it should be cooked or used immediately. 
  • If you bring pre-cooked hot food to another site, it should be kept above 140°F or higher. Consider using warming trays or a hot slow cooker to keep food hot.   

Serving the Sample

  • Use clean coolers with ice or ice packs to bring cold food to the site. Only take out as much as you need at any given time. 
  • Clean the table or counter you will be serving samples from.  
  • When preparing samples, hands need to be washed and gloves or utensils used to divide the food into taste testing portions. No bare hand contact with any food. 
  • Make sure food samples are not touched and put back.  
  • Cover samples when not in service. Consider individual covered containers.
  • Always ask parents’ permission before serving children.   
  • Do not serve the following: 
    1) Any cut produce or other perishable foods held at room temperature for more than 2 hours or above 90 degrees for over one hour.  
    2) Undercooked meat, poultry, fish, or eggs.  
    3) Unpasteurized dairy products, juices, or apple cider. 
    4) Raw sprouts to high-risk individuals. 
  • Toss out any pre-portioned samples at the end. In addition, if the food was held without hot or cold temperature control it needs to be thrown out
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Food Safety Field Specialist
Extension Field Specialist, Food Safety
Phone: (603) 447-3834
Office: Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824