home buisness by bizzybean


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You enjoy working with food.
People compliment the foods you                                     FOOD                          Find the Market
                                                                                                  A market is not always obvious.
prepare. You are prompt, accu-                                                                    Look for a need that you can fill—
rate, reliable, and do not mind
working while others play. You do
                                                                  PRODUCTS:                       for example, decorated cakes,
                                                                                                  lunches for bridge groups, or
not expect to get rich quickly. You                                                               homebaked rolls on weekend
have a “head for business” (or a                                                                  mornings. Whatever the need, a
partner who does).                                                                                good product is essential. It must
                                                                                                  be tasty and attractive, and
These statements describe a                                                                       consistent in taste and appear-
person who could succeed in the                                                                   ance. If you will offer a service
home food business. Catering,                                                                     rather than a specific product,
baking, cake decorating, specialty                                                                that, too, must be consistent,
foods, whatever you choose—                                                                       reliable, and attractive to the
opportunities do exist. But, it                                                                   customer.
takes a combination of hard work,
correct decisions, and the luck of                                                                Ideally, there should be little or no
being in the right place with the                                                                 local competition for your product
right product at the right time.                                                                  or service. If there is, find and
                                                                                                  promote some unique feature that
Even then, your dream may not                                                                     makes yours better than the
come true. Many home-based                                                                        competitors’.
businesses fail in the first year, in
most cases not because the                                           a business from              Think about the skills you have or
product is bad but because there                                        your home                 will need to develop. Are you
is not enough working capital,                                                                    confident of your abilities or do
and/or the owner has inadequate                                                                   you need more practice? If you
skills in planning, organizing,                                                                   need more training, is it available?
controlling, directing, managing,
or marketing.                                                                      Avoid going into business just because you and
                                                                                   your family or close friends like your food. Get
Chances for success increase greatly if you take                                   opinions of strangers—the people who will buy
time to make a business plan. First, make sure                                     your product. Be realistic. People who say they
there is a market for the product or service and                                   want your product or service may, when
that it is possible to make a reasonable profit.                                   pressed, admit that they are not willing to pay
Look into state regulatory and licensing require-                                  the necessary price. Probe for true answers
ments for home food businesses. Also consider                                      when assessing potential demand for your
local zoning, income tax implications, insurance,                                  product. Find out just how much people are
and other legal matters. List immediate as well                                    willing to pay.
as future expenses.
                                                                                   Check sales potential by visiting with local
After considering those factors, you must think                                    grocers, convenience stores, and other shops
about recipe standardization and procedures,                                       that are appropriate for your product. Contact
pricing, policies, selling, delivery, recordkeeping,                               church groups, fraternal groups, and other
safety, sanitation, and the many other details                                     clubs to see if they are interested in your prod-
that go into a successful business plan.                                           uct or service.

If possible, contact a Small Business Adminis-                                     If potential customers do not appear interested,
tration representative for assistance. Help also                                   stop and take a critical look at your plans.
may be available through the small business                                        Maybe you need to change or modify your plans,
centers that are part of the university extension                                  or consider something new.
system in many states.

 N. D.

 S. D.
                                      North Central Regional Extension Publication No. 259

                   Ill. IND.
                                      Revised January 2000
Study the Competition                                         Facilities and Appliances
If similar businesses exist in your area,                     In most states, separate kitchen facilities
study them carefully. Who are their custom-                are required for a licensed food business. A
ers? How and where do they sell their prod-             person just starting out may prefer to rent
ucts? What marketing methods and promotion           kitchen space from a church or other facility
pieces do they use? Learn from their successes       rather than go to the expense of a second
and their mistakes.                                  kitchen in the home. In general, it is wise to
                                                     avoid major remodeling expenses initially,
How will your business differ from the competi-      although adequate space is needed for prepara-
tion? Why will customers prefer your product?        tion and storage. Even for an unlicensed busi-
The answers to these questions determine the         ness, it may be necessary to improve facilities to
unique “marketing position” to stress in sales       meet state or local guidelines.
talks to potential outlets and customers.
                                                     Home-style appliances may not be a problem
Licensing                                            while the business is small, but commercial
The state government agency that regulates food      appliances may be needed eventually. Home
and agriculture probably has requirements you        refrigerators lack the capacity to cool large
must meet to sell your foods. Check the require-     amounts of food rapidly, and shelving may not
ments before you go too far. You may find that a     accommodate sheet trays and other large pans.
separate kitchen is required, or there is some       More freezer space may be needed if it is neces-
other rule that you are not willing or able to       sary to prepare food in advance. In addition,
meet. In some states, a home food business may       larger cooking surfaces and more oven space
be exempt from state licensing if it meets certain   may be necessary.
guidelines, often related to income limitations.
                                                     Kitchen Equipment
State regulations also may prohibit the sale of      If possible, avoid expensive equipment pur-
some types of home-prepared foods. For ex-           chases at the beginning. Certain utensils are
ample, some states prohibit the sale of home-        essential, however; for example, portioning
canned foods and/or the use of home-canned           equipment (scoops, ladles, scales, quart and
ingredients in foods for sale commercially.          gallon measures), serving trays, serving utensils,
                                                     dishes, and tongs.
Always check local zoning restrictions before        As the business succeeds, reinvest profits in
planning goes too far—and definitely before          equipment to save hand labor or increase pro-
money is spent. Local ordinances may restrict        duction capacity. It may become necessary to
the kind of home businesses allowed or prohibit      purchase equipment for the location where food
a home business entirely.                            is sold or served. Display racks or a special
                                                     refrigerator may be needed, for example.
A business will have both fixed and variable         Food Costs
expenses. Fixed expenses are those that do not       Estimate the cost of ingredients on a per unit
change, such as rent. Also in this category are      basis (or per dozen, if small items such as
the “one time” or annual expenses such as            cookies are involved). List the ingredients
equipment, remodeling, license fees, etc. Vari-      needed, then compare prices in both retail
able expenses change from month to month.            groceries and wholesale outlets. Try to find the
Examples are utility bills, ingredient costs,        most inexpensive ingredients, but do not sacri-
transportation, supplies, promotion and adver-       fice quality to cut costs.
tising salaries.

In general, larger quantities of ingredients have         from your food), personal liability, auto (if your
lower unit cost. But wholesale buying of large            car is used for business purposes), fire, business
quantities may not save money for a beginning             interruption, and workers’ compensation (if you
business, particularly if food is perishable. The         hire employees).
major advantage of wholesale buying is to main-
tain consistent product quality. It also may              If you do hire employees, you also will need to
enable the purchase of ingredients that are               allow for employer payments to Social Security
difficult to obtain in small quantities.                  and unemployment funds.

Pre-prepared foods such as dehydrated soup                Other Expenses
bases and chopped nuts may reduce food costs              Although not all of the following expenses are
by cutting preparation time.                              applicable to your home business in the begin-
                                                          ning, they may become significant as the busi-
Labor                                                     ness grows.
Although you may be willing to work for nothing,
assistants and delivery people will expect to be          • Overhead for kitchen, equipment, and delivery
paid. Always include a labor cost, even if you do         vehicle
not intend to pay yourself a salary. This is a
good business practice that will help establish a         • Utilities (fuel) used in food preparation
fair price.
                                                          • Licenses required by local, state, and federal
One way to estimate labor cost is to divide the           governments
profit by hours spent. For example, if it takes 50
hours’ labor to produce a $100 profit, the labor          • Recordkeeping and required sales reports
cost is $2 per hour. Another way to establish
labor cost is to decide what your time is worth.          • Customers who do not pay
You may think your time is worth $2 per hour—
or maybe $20. It’s up to you.                             • Accounting or legal fees

Labor cost is more than preparation time. A               • Excess production (leftovers), pilferage, returns,
certain amount of time will be required for               and “mistakes”
developing the business, transportation, pur-
chasing, and recordkeeping. If others will be             • Food wrap, napkins, condiments
working as well (family members for delivery, for
example), include their labor costs also. Will they       • Advertising and promotion, postage, telephone
work as quickly or efficiently as you do?
                                                          • Kitchen modifications
Will you deliver your products? If so, include            • Interest
gasoline and other automobile costs as an
expense. Is a special vehicle necessary? Will you         • Rent
need equipment to keep foods at recommended
temperatures while in transit? Can you recover a          If you have made major initial expenses such as
prorated cost of the delivery vehicle, including          kitchen remodeling or appliance purchases, ask
fuel and maintenance?                                     an accountant to establish a monthly figure to
                                                          include in expenses.
Do not assume a home business is covered by               Pricing Products and Services
your homeowners policy. Check with your agent             The price can make the difference between
to see what coverage you have and what is                 success and failure. Good prices make custom-
needed. Types of coverage to consider are prod-           ers think they are getting their money’s worth
uct liability (in case people become ill or injured       and make you think you are getting a fair return
                                                          on your investment of time and money.
How much can you charge? Consider                            Step 5: Add
comparable commercial products, prices                       Fixed expenses $2
charged by others in your community for                      Ingredients    $2.50
similar products, and “what the traffic will                 Labor          $2
bear.” Consult business people in the
community.                                                                      $6.50 total per hour cost

Prices should reflect all fixed and variable ex-     Step 6: Divide the total per hour cost by the
penses in the business and provide what you          number of loaves you can make per hour—
consider a reasonable profit. Keep prices com-       $6.50 ÷ 5 = $1.30—the minimum price that will
petitive and in a range that the target customers    cover your costs.
are willing to pay.
                                                     Will customers pay $1.30 for a loaf of your
The following pricing methods are guides that        bread? Compare the price with that of similar
you can adjust to your situation. Through            products. If it seems low, consider increasing it a
experience, you will learn to set up your own        little. (After all, $2 per hour is a pretty low labor
pricing formula. Don’t worry if the prices you set   cost.) However, if the price is considerably higher
are a little higher than your competition—if you     than the competition, consider the options
are sure your product is better in some way.         below.

Cost-based Pricing                                   • Reduce ingredient cost
This method uses unit costs of ingredients,
expenses, and labor to determine the price.          • Reduce labor cost

For example, as a maker of homemade bread,           • Increase per hour production
you have fixed expenses of $50 per month; you
plan to work one day each week, or 32 hours per      • Decrease expenses
month; your ingredient cost is $.50 per loaf; and
you can make 5 loaves in an hour. How much           • Improve work methods (which may accomplish
should you charge for each loaf?                     all four of the above)

Step 1: Figure the productive working hours          Percent Food Cost Pricing
(total hours spent in actually making the            This quick method is used by many restaurants.
product)—Seven hours of the 32 are spent in          It is based on the theory that food cost makes up
bookkeeping, shopping, and delivery, so are not      about 40 percent of the price. To set a price,
productive hours. Therefore, your total produc-      multiply the food cost by 21⁄2 (40% by 21⁄2 =
tive hours per month are 25 (32 – 7 = 25).           100%).

Step 2: Figure expenses per hour—Divide the          In the example of the breadmaker, the food cost
monthly fixed expenses by the productive work-       of $.50 is 38 percent (rounded to 40 percent) of
ing hours in one month ($50 ÷ 25 = $2 fixed          the total selling price of $1.30.
expenses per hour).
                                                     The 40 percent figure is just a guideline; it may
Step 3: Figure ingredient cost per hour—             not be a suitable standard if ingredients cost
Multiply the ingredient cost of one loaf ($.50) by   very little but the product requires a great deal
the number of loaves you can make in an hour         of labor or if ingredients are so expensive that no
($.50 × 5 = $2.50).                                  one would pay 21⁄2 times the cost.

Step 4: Set labor cost—In this example, you          Some experts say that a reasonable price for
decide you are willing to work for $2 per hour.      catering is ingredient cost × 3. To get a price per
                                                     person, divide that total by the number of people
                                                     the food will serve.

Pricing for Services Only                                 favorite recipe, remember that simply multiply-
If the client purchases the ingredients or reim-          ing all quantities may cause reactions that will
burses you, prices may cover labor or service             affect the final product. Brands of ingredients
only. Again, charge a reasonable but competitive          can make a difference too, so don’t change
price that takes into consideration any unique            brands without testing the result.
skills and special equipment.
                                                          Experiment with cost-cutting measures that
Policies and Price Sheet                                  don’t affect the final product. For example,
List policies on a price sheet that is duplicated         discover the minimum amount of each ingredi-
and made available to customers. In addition,             ent without affecting quality. Arrange equipment
post both prices and policies in your kitchen.            for most efficient production, and streamline
Some basic policies are listed below.                     work methods as well.

• Minimum order size                                      To complete the standardization, practice mak-
                                                          ing the recipe over and over until the result is
• Time needed to fill order                               the same every time. The recipe should include
                                                          the following:
• Delivery schedule
                                                          • Appropriate descriptive title;
• Advance payment and billing procedures
                                                          • Size of servings—in volume, weight, or size of
• Returns                                                 pieces;

• Cancellations                                           • Yield—number of servings and/or volume or
• Price changes
                                                          • Pan size needed, especially for baked or con-
• Other rules you will follow                             gealed items, or if important to the quality of the
                                                          finished product or portion sizes;
Sales – Expenses = Profit                                 • Number of pans needed and whether glass or
To estimate profit, make a conservative estimate          metal;
of the number of products you expect to sell
during a certain time period—six months perhaps.          • Ingredients in order used and brand name;
Multiply that figure by the selling price per
product.                                                  • Type or form of ingredients, such as melted fat,
                                                          all-purpose flour, finely chopped onions;
Estimate expected total expenses for the same
time period. Subtract this total from the total           • Quantity of ingredients in both weight and
sales. The answer is the anticipated profit.              volume; and
How does the anticipated profit figure compare            • Clear, precise instructions for—
with what you could make through other job                Preparing and combining ingredients
opportunities? What about the money you must              Cooking method, time and temperature
invest in the business? Could that money earn a           Size or portion and method of service
better rate of return elsewhere? If the anticipated       Possible substitutions, if desirable.
profit figure is satisfactory to you, proceed with
your business plan.                                       Stress to helpers the importance of following the
                                                          recipe exactly. Make sure they know what is
Standardize Recipes                                       meant by terms such as mix, beat, and fold. Be
Standardized quantity recipes are necessary to            specific as to how many strokes to beat, or how
ensure uniform product results and keep                   long to mix. These details can make a difference.
preparation costs steady. If you plan to adapt a
Appearance                                                     Promotion is the communications
Attractive products sell better. Attractive-                  aspect of marketing that includes what-
ness refers to both the appearance of the                  ever is done to tell the public/potential
food and how it is packaged or displayed.               customers about the product. This might
Strive for innovative but appropriate food           include written publicity, news releases, demon-
arrangements. Prepare the product the way you        strations or talks to local groups, posters, free
want it to look and take color photographs. Post     samples, displays, brochures or catalogs, and
these in the kitchen so that both you and your       advertising.
helpers can achieve a consistent appearance.
                                                     Take advantage of promotion opportunities. For
Packaging                                            example, if you are asked to donate products for
Today’s customers are concerned about sanita-        community charity events, ask for recognition in
tion and food safety. Securely wrapped and           some way. As the business grows, however, you
sealed packages are vital if food is sold through    may be asked to donate products frequently.
retail outlets. Packaging also contributes to the    Don’t feel you must always donate; politely
appearance of a product, so choose a packaging       decline those you do not wish to support or do
method that enhances what you sell.                  not feel will advance your business interests.

                                                     Advertising is paid promotion. A newspaper or
Contracts                                            radio station may be interested in a feature story
If possible, get written orders or contracts from    on your new business or your unusual product,
buyers, especially if you are producing for resale   but after that, you will most likely have to pay
through retail outlets. This is businesslike and     for publicity in the news media. When you pay
also helps prevent errors and misunderstandings.     for newspaper space and radio time, you can say
The order form should have space to write the        exactly what you want about your product
price, order type and amount, time of delivery,      (provided what you say is allowed by law).
last date order may be changed or canceled, and
payment schedule. If food is for resale, be sure     However, advertising is not the first thing you
the order form specifies the policy on return of     should think about. The overall marketing plan
unsold merchandise, especially if perishable.        should come first.

Recordkeeping                                        The Marketing Plan
Records tell you where you have been, where          A marketing plan begins with some realistic
you are, and where you are going. Business           goals, with enough time for the goals to be
experts say there is a close relationship between    reached. What do you expect to accomplish in
inadequate recordkeeping and business failures.      six months? In a year? In five years?
State and federal governments require certain        Next, think about how to reach the goals. Con-
records, and, in addition, detailed records help     sider the product in relation to the potential
pinpoint deductions at tax time.                     customers. Think about who the customers are,
                                                     where they go, what they do, what they like and
Set up a simple bookkeeping system to keep           dislike, their income and education. What do
track of expenditures.                               these people need? Your business should meet
                                                     either a real or a perceived need.
Marketing, Promotion, and
Advertising                                          How will you reach people to tell them about
The words marketing, promotion, and advertis-        your product? That is where promotion and
ing have different meanings.                         advertising come in. What are your customers’
                                                     social, leisure, reading habits? Where do they go?
Marketing includes all the decisions involved in     What kinds of promotion and advertising are
the business effort: the product itself, produc-     most likely to reach them? For example, it
tion, pricing, promotion, selling, service, and      probably is a waste of money to advertise expen-
customer satisfaction.                               sive catered dinners in a shopper newspaper
                                                     that features garage sale ads.

Develop a portfolio or album with photographs of           Food Safety
your products to use when talking to potential             A seller of food has both ethical and legal liabili-
customers, especially retail outlets. If possible,         ties to provide food that is reasonably free of
have a professional photographer take the                  bacterial and physical contaminants. In addi-
picture to present the food in the most appealing          tion, illness or injury to a customer can spell
way. There are techniques to food photography              disaster for a food business.
that only a professional will know.
                                                           Licensed businesses must be inspected and
Create a Professional Image                                follow state safety and sanitation regulations.
One important part of business success is                  Unlicensed businesses may need to meet special
image. If you are professional in your work and            guidelines for home bakeries and other food
in your dealing with customers, they will have             sales from the home.
confidence in you and feel good about using your
product or service. It costs very little to create a       Keeping the food free of physical contaminants is
professional image. Here are a few tips.                   less of a problem if you keep both yourself and
                                                           the work area neat and clean. Be especially alert
• Be available during your advertised business             for hair, either human or animal—the most likely
hours; if you must go away, leave messages                 unwanted ingredient of home-prepared products.
where you can be reached.                                  Other possible physical contaminants that will
                                                           “turn-off” customers are bits of eggshell, finger-
• Return phone calls promptly.                             nails or metal particles, paper, cardboard, dirt,
                                                           and grease.
• Respond to inquiries and requests for price
quotes immediately.                                        Avoiding Bacterial Contamination
                                                           Table 2 lists some of the common illnesses
• Be sure food looks professionally prepared and           caused by improperly prepared food. The best
is attractively displayed.                                 rule of thumb for safety is “hot foods hot and
                                                           cold foods cold.” Do not serve any foods that
• Make sure you, your workplace, and your                  cannot be kept at their recommended cold or hot
equipment are neat and clean.                              levels until serving time.

• Meet agreed-upon deadlines.                              The bacteria that can cause illness live and
                                                           multiply best at room temperature, but they also
• If you use the family telephone for your                 grow and multiply in the range between 40°F
business, insist that family members answer                (refrigerator temperature) and 140°F (minimum
correctly and know how to take orders and                  oven temperature). Foods should not be held at
messages.                                                  room temperature for more than two hours (see

Table 1. Leading factors contributing to foodborne illness

1. Improper temperature control
   a. Store perishables at 40°F or below.
   b. Cook foods to 165°F or higher.
   c. Keep hot foods at 140°F or higher.
   d. Keep cold foods at 40°F or below.
2. Poor personal hygiene—unclean hands and sneezing on food.
3. Unclean work area and equipment (utensils).
4. Cross-contamination
   a. Raw and cooked food contact.
   b. Equipment and work surfaces not clean.

Figure 1 and Table 1). Bacteria are not killed           • Never lick fingers or use the cooking spoon to
unless food is heated above 165°F.                       taste the food. Use the “two spoon” technique:
                                                         dip in with the cooking spoon and transfer to the
Potentially hazardous foods are those that               tasting spoon.
contain meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk
products. Treat with special care foods that are         • Whenever possible, use clean kitchen tools
warm or room temperature, handled, and not               instead of hands. For example, use tongs instead
heated to the 165°F temperature that destroys            of fingers for breads, butter squares, lettuce
bacteria. Good examples are salads with poultry,         leaves, cold meat slices, and cheese cubes.
fish, macaroni, and egg, as well as cream puffs
and custard-filled desserts. Carry these foods           • Keep kitchen and work area clear of pets and
and others like them to the serving place in an          pests.
insulated ice chest or similar container. Keep ice
clean and do not let it touch the food.                  • Do not buy or use cracked or dirty eggs.

If time between cooking and serving is more than         • Refrigerate ground meats and cooked foods in
two hours, refrigerate the food and reheat it just       shallow pans (no more than four inches deep) to
in time for serving. Reheat to serve above 165°F,        promote quick cooling. Use a thermometer to see
then hold above 140°F. Do not use a warming              that the center reaches 40°F within two hours.
unit to reheat food.
                                                         • Keep frozen foods frozen until ready to use.
More Tips for Handling Food Safely                       Cook vegetables while still frozen or icy. Serve
• If practical, rinse foods with cool, running           immediately.
water before preparation to get rid of some
harmful bacteria.                                        • Always use covers to prevent contamination of
                                                         cooked food.
• Wash hands before handling food, frequently
during preparation, and always after doing               • Put newly purchased groceries away immedi-
unrelated activities such as answering the               ately, making sure perishable foods go into
telephone, using the toilet, or blowing your nose.       refrigerator or freezer immediately.
Dry hands with a paper towel or hot air.
                                                         • Keep frozen meats, including turkey and
• After handling raw meat, fish, poultry, or eggs,       chicken at 40°F while thawing. If you must
wash hands and equipment with soap and water             speed up the process, place under cold running
before working with other foods.                         water. Roasts or unstuffed turkey (with giblets
                                                         removed) may go into the oven while still frozen
• If possible, keep raw and cooked foods in              (remember to increase roasting time).
separate coolers or refrigerators to avoid cross-
contamination. If raw and cooked foods are               • Bacteria thrive in partially cooked meat, so
stored in the same refrigerator, store raw foods         never partially cook a roast or turkey one day
below cooked foods and food that will not be             and then finish it the next. Some bacteria may
cooked prior to consumption.                             produce toxins that are not destroyed by further
• Avoid touching face, mouth, or hair when
hands are clean. Keep hair under a scarf, cap,           • Raw poultry or meat should not come into
or hairnet.                                              contact with other foods, especially those eaten
                                                         raw or only slightly cooked. This means cutting
• Do not handle food if you have cuts, scratches,        surfaces and knives must be thoroughly washed
or sores on face, hands, or arms. A bandage              if used for raw meat or poultry.
does not give necessary protection.

• Do not handle food if you are sick or have a
cold, sore throat, sinusitis, or diarrhea.
Figure 1. Temperature guide to food safety
                      Bacteria         240°
       Boiling             die
         point                          212°           The time required to kill the bacteria depends on
        at sea                                         temperature and time; the higher the temperature or
          level                                        longer the time, the greater the destruction.
                  No growth,
                  bacteria do          140°            Hot foods must be held in this range or above.
                      not die

                                                       Food must be handled quickly in this range.
temperature           Bacteria                         Danger zone
                       rapidly                         Never hold food in this range.

     Freezing                           40°
        point Slow growth               32°            Cold foods must be held in this range, or below.
       at sea
         level  No growth                              Bacteria cease to grow but do not die.

                                                       For food safety, keep hot foods hot
                                                       and cold foods cold.

Table 2. Foodborne illnesses
Illness and symptoms                                    Foods often involved    Preventive measures

Botulism—Double vision, inability to swallow,           Improperly home-        Bacterial spores in foods are destroyed
speech difficulty, progressive respiratory              canned low or me-       by high temperatures obtained only in
paralysis. High fatality rate. Comes on 12 to           dium-acid foods;        the pressure canner. More than 6 hours
36 hours or longer after eating involved food.          smoked fish. Rarely,    is needed to kill the spores at boiling
                                                        commercially canned     temperature (212°F). The toxin is de-
Duration—3-6 days                                       foods.                  stroyed by boiling for 10 to 20 minutes;
                                                                                time required depends on kind of food.

Campylobacter jejuni—Fever; mild to severe              Raw or undercooked      Heating and refrigeration practices to
and often bloody diarrhea; abdominal cramps             meats, especially       kill or control Salmonella also appear
that may be severe; possible headache, malaise,         poultry; raw (unpas-    to be effective against Campylobacter.
muscle or skeletal pain, or vomiting. Recognized        teurized) milk; water
only within the last 10 years as problem to             supply that has been
humans. Thought to be more common cause                 contaminated with
of acute gastroenteritis than Salmonella.               animal or human
Duration—2-7 days

Escherichea coli - E. coli 0157:H7—One of               Inadequately cooked     Cook ground beef to 165°F interior
four highly infectious types that causes gastroin-      ground beef, unpas-     temperature. Use only pasteurized
testinal disease in people, especially infants,         teurized apple cider    apple cider and juice or bring to boil
elderly, and immune-compromised people. Type            and juice, contami-     before serving, rinse-wash fruits and
0157:H7 causes bloody diarrhea and severe               nated lettuce,          vegetables. Practice good personal
stomach cramps. Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome               sprouts, and other      hygiene to prevent person-to-person
(HUS) in children can result in acute kidney failure    vegetables and foods.   exposure.
and death and blood clots in the elderly. Other
E. coli types can cause infant diarrhea, “traveler’s
diarrhea,” and shigellosis-type dysentery.
Table 2. Foodborne illnesses (cont.)
Illness and symptoms                          Foods often involved           Preventive measures

Listeriosis (Listeria monocytogenes)—         Meat products like precooked   Eat pasteurized milk and pasteurized
Nausea, vomiting, fever, and headache.        frankfurters and cold cuts,    milk cheeses. Reheat frozen and
Severe cases result in abortion, still-       raw milk soft cheeses, raw     refrigerated precooked meat and
birth, perinatal septicemia and meningi-      milk, precooked poultry        poultry products like frankfurters.
tis to surviving infants, and/or death.       and seafood products, and      Wash-rinse fruits and vegetables.
Susceptible include elderly, immune           unwashed fruits and            Store perishable foods below 40°F and
compromised, infants, and unborn.             vegetables. This bacteria      use up rapidly.
                                              will grow slowly at refrig-
                                              erator temperatures.

Perfringens poisoning—Nausea,                 Cooked meats, poultry,         Cool foods rapidly; put foods in
abdominal pains, diarrhea (like mild 24-      fish, gravies, and main        shallow pans in refrigerators. Keep
hour flu); comes on 10 to 12 hours after      dish casseroles that have      cold foods at 40°F or below; keep hot
eating involved food.                         not been properly cooled       foods at 140°F or above. Reheat leftover
                                              and refrigerated and then      foods to 165°F. Wash hands after
Duration—may persist for 24 hours.            have not been reheated         going to toilet, handling raw meat,
                                              above 165°F.                   and doing activities other than food
                                                                             preparation. Clean and disinfect
                                                                             kitchen equipment. Restrict workers
                                                                             with diarrhea from touching foods.

Salmonellosis—Sudden onset of vomit-          Food animals may harbor        Cook foods to internal temperatures of
ing, abdominal pain, diarrhea. Usually        Salmonella. Raw poultry,       165°F. Use separate equipment for raw
fever, chills, severe headache. Can be        meats, eggs, and dairy         and cooked products. Cool foods in
dangerous for infants, elderly, and           products are most frequently   shallow pans in refrigerators. Keep cold
anyone with low resistance. Comes on          involved. Also transmitted     foods at 40°F or below; keep hot foods
12 to 72 hours after eating involved food.    by infected people, pets,      at 140°F or above. Reheat leftover foods
                                              insects, and rodents.          to 165°F. Clean and sanitize kitchen
Duration—2-7 days                             Salmonella are destroyed       utensils and equipment. Wash hands
                                              by heating food to 140°F       after visiting toilet and handling raw
                                              for 10 minutes or to higher    foods of animal origin. Restrict workers
                                              temperature for less time.     with diarrhea or fever from touching

Staphylococcus poisoning (staph)—             Custard or cream-filled        Wash hands after coughing, sneezing,
Vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea,         baked goods, ham, meat,        smoking, going to the toilet. Practice
sweating (often attributed to “the flu”).     poultry and egg salad          good personal hygiene. Cool foods
Comes on 1 to 6 hours after eating            sandwiches, potato and         rapidly; put foods in shallow pans in
involved food.                                macaroni salads, creamy        refrigerators. Keep cold foods at 40°F
                                              salad dressing. Transmitted    or below; keep hot foods at 140°F or
Duration—1-2 days                             by people who carry the        above. Cover infections with water-
                                              bacteria. Bacteria thrive at   proof dressing or bandaid. Restrict
                                              temperatures between 40°F      workers with diarrhea or colds from
                                              and 140°F.                     touching foods.

Viral Infections—Small Round Structured       Shellfish such as oysters      Do not prepare foods for others if
Viruses (SRSVs) including Norwalk virus       and mussels from sewage-       suffering from vomiting or diarrhea
cause gastroenteritis and Hepatitis A virus   contaminated waters. Fruit     and after 1 week after jaundice onset.
causes hepatitis. These virus originate       and vegetables if fertilized   Food handlers exposed to Hepatitis A
from and reproduce in human intestine.        with sewage sludge or          given immunoglobulin injection.
They do not increase in numbers in food       contaminated water.            Follow stringent personal hygiene
but will survive in food. Poor personal       Foods such as salads and       with frequent hand washing. Heat
hygiene (unwashed hands) contaminates         desserts contaminated by       treat shellfish to 195°F for 1.5 min-
food during preparation. SRSVs usually        infected food workers.         utes. Avoid cross-contamination of
cause sudden onset uncontrollable                                            raw shellfish with other foods.
projectile vomiting, diarrhea, and stom-
ach pain within 15 to 72 hours. Viral
Hepatitis A incubation is 3 to 6 weeks
with gradual development of symptoms:
loss of appetite, malaise, fever, and
vomiting followed by jaundice. Illness
lasts a few weeks to several months.
Usually more severe symptoms in adults.

Figure 2. Bacterial growth rate

This chart illustrates how a bacterium grows                                                  Under ideal conditions bacteria
when food is held in the temperature danger                                                   will multiply by dividing in two
zone. When food is initially held at ideal growth                                             every 20 minutes. This means a
temperatures for bacteria, the growth rate is                                                 bacterium can grow to more than
slow. This is termed the lag phase; it takes                                                  16,000,000 in 8 hours.
bacteria time to adjust to the environment and
the numbers reproduced are lower. Beyond this                                                              Time:
initial period, bacterial growth accelerates                                                  Number of bacteria:

Number of bacteria





                                                                                 300,000                       8



                             Lag pha                                                                        4:00

                     0   1       2        3   4         5        6       7   8                             4,096





Do not hold food in the temperature danger zone for more than two hours.
North Central Regional Extension publications are prepared as a part of
the Cooperative Extension activities of the 13 land-grant universities
from the 12 North Central States in cooperation with the Extension
Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

Prepared by Jim Huss, Iowa State University extension specialist in
hotel, restaurant, and institution management; William L. LaGrange,
Iowa State University extension food scientist; and Diane Nelson, Iowa
State University extension communication specialist.

Programs and activities of the Cooperative Extension Service are avail-
able to all potential clientele without regard to race, color, sex, national
origin, or disability.

In cooperation with the North Central Region Educational
Materials Project
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of Congress
of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Departments
of Agriculture and Cooperative Extension Services of Illinois, Indiana,
Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota,
Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Stanley R. Johnson, director,
Cooperative Extension Service, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

File: FN 4                                                          3/00

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