October 19, 2017

Super Bowl, Slow Cookers, and Food Safety

The USDA is offering tips for keeping the food you cook in your slow cooker safe while you plan your Super Bowl party. The government’s Meat and Poultry Hotline gets lots of questions about using this appliance this time of year. Typical questions are answered.

Super Bowl Party FunIf you put meat in your slow cooker and forget to turn it on, the meat must be discarded. Even if you cook it, pathogenic bacteria can produce toxins that will not be destroyed by heat. Any perishable food left out at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F for two hours or longer must be discarded.

Sometimes, if you refrigerate cooked foods in a large container, the center may not cool quickly enough. If a large pot of chili or soup, or a large cut of meat isn’t cold within a few hours, it must be discarded. Always put food into shallow containers, and divide it into smaller portions before refrigerating. Never cool food at room temperature.

Don’t reheat food in the slow cooker, simply because it heats food slowly. You can reheat cooked food to 165°F on the stove top or microwave oven, then put it into the slow cooker to keep it hot for serving.

Finally, don’t cook frozen meats in the slow cooker. All ingredients put into that appliance should be thawed before cooking. For more information about food safety, call the Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or visit AskKaren.gov.

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