Meet the Pathogens: A Stomach Bug Quiz

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Nearly every other week there's a new food-borne illness or outbreak in the news. So before you break out the leftovers or offer your neighbor a hastily cooked snack, see how much you know about foods that can make you ill.
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Question 1 of 7
0Correct Answers
1.Whichofthesecancauseblurredordoublevision,slurredspeechanddrymouth,amongothersymptoms?
  • Improperly canned foods
  • A baked potato in aluminum foil
  • Honey
  • All of the above
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: All of these foods can carry botulism, which is rare but can be deadly if you don't treat it quickly. Wrapping a potato in foil can keep oxygen from reaching it, and at certain temperatures, may allow spores to grow and produce a deadly toxin. Eat potatoes within two hours of cooking, heat them to 140F/60°C or hotter and refrigerate them two hours after cooking. Make sure to use proper canning methods. And don't let babies eat honey.
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2.Yougooutfordinnerandareabouttoorderanappetizer.Whichoneoftheseseeminglyharmlessmenuitemscancausejaundice,nauseaandabdominalpain?
  • Improperly blackened snapper
  • Homemade ice cream
  • Raw oysters or undercooked shellfish
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Shellfish from contaminated waters can pass along the hepatitis A virus. Avoid raw and undercooked shellfish. And if you think you're at risk, you can actually get a vaccine to prevent the virus.
  • Constantly braised beef
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3.Afterdinner,youleavetheleftoversoutovernight,because,hey,what'stheworstthatcouldhappen?Putgingerly,anexplosivebathroomsituation,ifBacilluscereus(orB.cereus)ispresent.Whatcouldbetheculprit?
  • Cut raw vegetables
  • Raw oranges
  • Rice
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: A number of foods, such as rice and leftovers, sauces, soups and other prepared foods that sit out too long at room temperature, can lead to illness caused by B. cereus. Keep your leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate them.
  • Quickly washed cutlery
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4.You'vegottheperfectsaladinmind,but,inadangeroustwofer,youchopboththelettuceand...whatonthesamecuttingboard?
  • Fish
  • Shrimp
  • Raw poultry
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Campylobacter is a common form of food poisoning but it's typically not reported as an outbreak. It can be delivered by raw or undercooked poultry, unpasteurized milk or contaminated water. Keep raw meat away from other foods, cook meat to minimum safe temperatures and don't drink raw milk.
  • Boiled eggs
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5.Atthebigfieldtriptothepettingzoo,yousitdownforlunch.Whichoftheseshouldyouavoidtouching(oraftermakingcontact,washup)?
  • Goat treats
  • Cows
  • A diaper change
  • All of the above
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: E.coli lives in the intestines of humans and animals and while most forms of the bacteria are harmless, some can cause illness and even death. Avoid unpasteurized milk, cheese and juice and undercooked ground beef. You also have a new, legitimate reason to pass on alfalfa sprouts. Wash fruits and vegetables. And wash your hands before preparing food, after a diaper change and after contact with animals or their surroundings.
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6.Raweggsandpoultrycometomindwhentalkingaboutsalmonella,butthereareanumberofsurprisingcarriers.Canyouidentifythepotentialtroublemaker?
  • Contaminated nuts
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: If contaminated nuts are improperly roasted they can pass along the bacteria, so there's not much to do with store-bought nuts except avoid them when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announce an outbreak. Avoid raw and lightly cooked eggs, and make sure food is refrigerated before cooking. Clean your hands -- and surfaces -- before preparing food.
  • Contact with tree bark
  • Gardening without gloves
  • All of the above
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7.Staphylococcus(alsocalledMRSAorStaphaureus)isfoundon25percentofhealthypeople.Thebacteriamultipliesquicklyonequipmentandsurfacesusedtopreparefood.Whichoneofthesemightgiveyoutrouble?
  • Improperly refrigerated salads
  • Contaminated sandwiches
  • Bakery products like cream pies and chocolate eclairs
  • All of the above
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Food poisoning from Staph aureus is avoided when food handlers wash their hands (or avoid preparing food with bare hands). Kitchen areas should be kept clean and sanitized. If food is out for more than two hours, heat it up (over 140° F) or chill down cold foods (40° F or under). Also: Use wide, shallow containers for storing food and get them into the fridge pronto.
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