February 19, 2018

USDA Guide to Hosting a Safe Super Bowl Party

The Super Bowl is this Sunday; if you’re hosting a party, take advice from the USDA to make sure the food you are serving is safe. These tips and rules will help ensure that your guests are happy and don’t get sick.

Super Bowl Chicken Wings

Begin by washing your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds. This will remove any bacteria from your hands before you start preparing the food. And make sure that dishware and utensils are clean and sanitized before you use them to prepare, warm, cook or serve food.

Make sure that you separate raw foods such as raw meat and poultry and foods that are eaten uncooked such as crudités and dips. Use clean and different utensils for each dish. Never use your own spoon or fork to serve yourself foods from the buffet, or you could contaminate the food.

Use a food thermometer to make sure that all foods are cooked to a safe final internal temperature before serving. Any food you cooked ahead of time should be reheated to at least 165°F before you serve it. Chicken wings should be cooked to 165°F. Burgers and sliders should be cooked to 160°F. And chili and any other reheated foods should be cooked to 165°F. Make sure your food thermometer is reliable and accurate.

Once the game starts, make sure you keep an eye on the clock. All foods should be out of the refrigerator for just two hours. Consider putting food out in batches to make sure they aren’t out too long. Before halftime, check your food with a thermometer to make sure hot foods are hot and cold foods are cold. The danger zone where bacteria can grow is between 40°F and 140°F. Keep crockpots on the warm or low setting, and use a cold source, such as a bowl of ice, underneath cold foods. When the two hour time limit is reached, put the foods in the fridge, change the cold sources, or throw out foods that have been out too long.

And when the Super Bowl party is over, refrigerate all leftover food, or discard it if it’s been out too long. Divide perishable food into smaller portions, put into shallow containers, and refrigerate or freeze. Use these refrigerated leftovers within three or four days. Reheat leftovers thoroughly before eating them.

Don’t use slow cookers for reheating. And if you use a microwave to reheat food, make sure the contents are evenly dispersed. Microwave ovens can have “cold spots” where food isn’t heated to a safe temperature. Stir the food during cooking intervals.

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