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Food safety IQ: Tis the season for pumpkin pie

Consumers who welcome seasonal foods often will have questions about food safety, said Karen Blakeslee, Kansas State University Research and Extension food scientist.

For example, should pumpkin pie be refrigerated?

“The answer is yes,” said Blakeslee, who explained: “Traditional pumpkin pie is a custard-style pie typically prepared with eggs and milk, ingredients that have a high moisture and protein content that, when stored at room temperature, can attract bacterial growth.”

If refrigerating custard-style pies is recommended, how can some pumpkin pies be displayed on grocery store shelves without refrigeration?

Commercial recipes are formulated with shelf-stable ingredients, such as preservatives or antimicrobials, Blakeslee said.
Labels on the prepared pies displayed at room temperature will carry the letters “RT,, indicating that the pie meets guidelines required for display at room temperature.

Commercial pies also are required to carry “sell by” or “use by” dates, said Blakeslee, who recommended checking dates before purchasing pies at the store, and then refrigerating them at home.

More information on food safety and health is available at K-State Research and Extension offices and on Extension´s food safety site.

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