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Doggy Bag Dining Safety Survey
Provided by Home Food Safety.Org. An educational collaboration between the American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods.

Survey Overview: A national online survey, conducted by Impulse Research Corporation in April 2002, of 1,048 people, 18 years of age and older living in the continental United States, was administered to provide insight into consumer food-handling practices for take-out foods and restaurant leftovers.

Americans want help with preparing food the second time around

*Seventy-five percent of restaurant patrons would find it helpful if restaurants provided proper reheating and storage instructions for leftovers or take-out food.

*Ninety-four percent of restaurant patrons don't label and/or date restaurant leftovers before refrigerating in order to store foods safely.

*Nearly a quarter (24%) of those surveyed have felt ill after eating leftovers or take-out foods from a restaurant.

Consumers are craving convenience

*Nearly 7 in 10 individuals (69%) eat at restaurants at least once a week and 43% are eating out 1-2 times a week.

*More than half (57%) order take-out food from a restaurant at least once a week; of those, 41 percent order take-out 1-2 times a week.

Doggy bag culture prevails

*Among restaurant diners, more than 90 percent (91%) say they take leftovers home at least occasionally and at least 32% do the majority of times they eat out.

*The good news is the majority of those asked (92%) refrigerate leftovers within one hour of returning home.

Consumers are taking a gamble with their leftovers

Even though a refrigerator thermometer is the only way to determine if the refrigerator is set to the proper temperature of below 40 Fahrenheit to safely store leftovers, fewer than 1 in 5 use one. And, 43% don't know the correct temperature to store leftovers.

Food may spoil long before it looks, smells or tastes bad, yet 48% of respondents admit to relying on one or more of their senses to tell whether food is safe to eat.

Americans aren't making the most of their leftovers

More than half (51%) of food preparers do not know what temperature is recommended for reheating restaurant leftovers.

Over a quarter (26%) of respondents believe restaurant leftovers need to be reheated to a higher temperature than necessary, most likely affecting taste.

85% of those surveyed never use a meat thermometer, even though it is the only way to make sure foods have reached a safe temperature.


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