Dormitory Food Safety
College shopping and checklists include many items such as laptops, printers, bedding, microwaves and compact refrigerator/freezers. With the hectic schedules that college students have to balance, food safety can fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, this can lead to foodborne illnesses, which cause students to miss class and schoolwork - not to mention pay for medical treatment. Foodborne illness shouldn't get in the way of students' success. That's why we suggest college student follow the guidelines below to ensure safe and healthy foods:
KEEP COLD FOODS COLD
- Place a thermometer in the dorm room refrigerator as well as the main kitchen refrigerator freezer. Thermometers generally cost less than five dollars and should ensure a safe food temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- Learn what foods need to be refrigerated. Potentially hazardous foods are those that have protein, moisture content and acidity levels that support bacterial growth, many of which are commonly found in the college environment. A few example pizza, burritos, microwave potatoes and milk and dairy products.
COOK FOODS TO PROPER TEMPERATURES
- Wild game, poultry, stuffed fish, stuffed meat, stuffed pasta, stuffed poultry, stuffed ratites or stuffing containing fish, meat or poultry should be cooked at 165°F (74°C) or above for 15 seconds.
- Comminuted fish, comminuted meats (ground beef), injected meats, ratites or raw pooled eggs (omelets) should be cooked at 155°F (68°C) or above for 15 seconds.
- Food that is cooked or reheated in microwave ovens should be rotated and stirred throughout to compensate for uneven distribution of heat. Before consuming, make sure the food is 165°F (74°C) or above.
- Pork and all other foods should be cooked to 145°F (63°C) or above for 15 seconds.
KEEP HOT FOODS HOT
- When using crock pots or hot plates to keep food warm, a simple stem thermometer can help to ensure that you are keeping your hot foods at 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
DISCARD FOOD ITEMS
- Label food items that you have prepared with the preparation date and discard any food that is not eaten within seven days.
- Label any leftovers brought back to dorm with the purchase date and discard any food that is not eaten within four days.
- When holding foods off temperature, discard after 4 hours.
- Food items served off temperature outdoors should be discarded within 2 hours.
- WHEN IN DOUBT THROW IT OUT! DON'T RISK BECOMING ILL!
- Never consume the same ice that is used to cool food products or drinks (soft drinks, beer etc.).
- Be cautious when using ice as a cooling mechanism for products in your dorm as it is not intended to permanently hold food items at the appropriate temperature. It is best to only use ice for cooling during temporary events such as tailgating and picnics.
For more information, view USDA's site on dormitory food safety.
Here is information on tailgating safety tips.