July 15, 2024

Keep Food Safe at Fall Football Cookouts With Tips From Experts

It’s football time, and that means tailgating. Keep your food safe at fall football cookouts with food safety tips from Auburn University.

Fall Football Cookouts

Tailgate parties usually take place in parking lots and areas around football stadiums around the country. Most people grill at these gatherings, which present some unique food safety issues. But if you follow these tips at each step, from purchasing the food to grilling and cleanup, you can stay safe and avoid foodborne illness.

First, when you shop, purchase meats such as ground hamburger, hot dogs, and chicken last. Get them home quickly and into the refrigerator and freezer.

When you are packing and preparing food for your fall football cookouts, make sure you put them in an insulated cooler and use ice or frozen gel packs to keep them at a safe temperature. Put the meat into a sealed container and place it at the bottom of the cooler to prevent leaks. Pack a separate cooler for drinks, so the cooler that holds the perishable food is opened as little as possible.

Bring separate utensils and plates for preparing, serving, and eating the food. Also bring a food thermometer so you can make sure the meat you are grilling is cooked to a safe final internal temperature. Cook poultry to 165°F, and ground beef and pork to 160°F. Remember that even if meat looks done, it may not be. So use the food thermometer on every piece of meat every time.

Then mark the time when you start eating. It’s not safe to leave grilled meat and other perishable foods that have been at room temperature for more than two hours. That time shrinks to one hour when the ambient air temperature is above 90°F. When in doubt, throw it out.

After guests have served themselves, you can put dips and perishable side dishes back into the cooler to keep them cool. But remember that coolers won’t cool food to a safe temperature quickly enough. Follow these tips and you’ll enjoy safe fall football cookouts.

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