At the Kansas State Fair:
Enjoy Food, But Consider Food Safety, Too
HUTCHINSON, Kan.– Fair goers will not be able to sample the hefty, all-butter buffalo on display in the cooler in the Pride of Kansas building, but they will be able to enjoy a multitude of other tasty goodies during the Kansas State Fair, Sept. 8-17. Many Fair visitors list food as one of the main attractions at the annual funfest.
More than a hundred different foods are expected to be on the menu at the Kansas State Fair this year. The sheer number of choices, which includes corn dogs; barbecued beef sandwiches; giant cinnamon rolls and apple dumplings with – or without – ice cream, can make choosing foods difficult.
Efforts to keep foods served at the Fair safe to eat aren’t listed on the menus, but the efforts are uppermost in the minds of vendors and organizers. Kansas Dept. of Health & Environment inspectors will monitor food vendors during the event.
Fair goers are, however, encouraged to be safety-conscious consumers, said Karen Penner, K-State Research and Extension food safety specialist, who offered these food safety tips:
"Temperature is an important consideration. When foods that should be served hot are allowed to cool to an unsafe temperature, potentially harmful bacteria that may be present on the food can grow and may cause foodborne illness, which often is mistaken for the flu. Symptoms can occur within hours after eating, but may not appear for several weeks. Children, the elderly, and others who may have immune systems that can be compromised by chronic illnesses or medical treatments, such as chemo therapy, can be more susceptible.
If foodborne illness is suspected, it should be reported immediately to the health department. Seeking medical treatment is encouraged," Penner said.
"Foods that should be refrigerated also need to be well chilled. This is especially important for salads and sandwich filling mixtures that may contain meat or eggs," she said.
Fair visitors who prefer to pack a lunch or picnic are advised to be especially cautious in warm weather, which can cause harmful organisms on food to grow and multiply quickly, said Penner, who offered these guidelines:
Familiar advice is still good advice: When in doubt, throw it out, the food safety specialist said.
For more information on packing a lunch or other food safety tips, contact the local Extension office
or visit the K-State Research and Extension website at http://www.oz.oznet.ksu.edu/foodsafety/ .
K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.
Nancy B. Peterson
K-State Research & Extension News
Karen Penner is at 785-532-1672