Hosting a March Madness party? The U.S. Food and drug Administration (FDA) has these food safety tips to keep your gathering free of food poisoning.
Buffets are a great way to serve food when gathering to watch “the big game.” To keep the food your are serving buffet style free from dangerous bacteria, remember three key things: size, time and temperature.
Size refers to the size of the platters or portions you put on the buffet table. Don’t put all your food out at once. Instead, divide what you have prepared onto a number of small platters and dishes ahead of time, and replace them with fresh ones throughout the party. Don’t add new food to an existing serving dish. Bacteria from people’s hands can contaminate the food and the dish.
Next, time. Bacteria multiply rapidly at room temperature. Two hours is the maximum. Perishables should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours, one hour if the buffet is held in a place where the temperature is above 90°F. Throw out all perishable foods when they reach this time unless you’re keeping it hot or cold, which brings us to temperature.
You need a food thermometer to make sure food is being held or served at the proper temperature. Hot foods should be kept at an internal temperature of 140° F or warmer. Cold foods should be kept at 40° F or colder. Until guests arrive, keep cold dishes refrigerated and hot dishes in the oven set at 200° F to 250° F.