Enjoy your holiday buffet safely

Holiday foods with family and friends.

Everyone enjoys the variety of foods presented at a holiday buffet with the warm company of family and friends, it is when everyone brings their favorite or best family recipe. This is also when we need to be thinking about keeping food safe. At this time of year, when it is cold outside, it is hard to think of food spoiling because it was left out too long or because it was not kept hot or cold. It is just as much a safety issue in the winter as in the summer months.

Michigan State University Extension reminds you of some everyday simple tips: 

  • Keep hot dishes hot, 135 degrees or warmer
  • Keep cold dishes cold, 41 degrees or colder
  • Keep extra foods in the appropriate place - refrigerator (40 degrees) or oven (200-250 degrees)
  • Serve cold dishes on a shallow bowl of ice
  • Serve hot dishes in chafing dishes, slow cookers or warming trays
  • The two hour rule - throw food out after it has been on the buffet for two hours
  • Place small amounts of food out and refill often

When traveling with food, pack perishables directly from the refrigerator or freezer into a cooler. When transporting hot foods, keep them in a insulated container to keep product at safe temperatures. The time limit should not exceed two hours. At the end of the party, handle leftovers carefully. If items have been kept at room temperature more than two hours, throw away. Leftovers that have been kept at proper temperatures should be put in small containers and refrigerated. Be sure to eat within three days or placed in the freezer. If there is a large amount of food left, send it home with family and friends so everyone can enjoy this wonderful feast in a safe and timely manner. As always, remember to keep food preparation areas clean and wash hands frequently when handling food.

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