Tackle your Big Game party with food safety plays

Following these food safety rules will keep fans safe and make you the winner!

Tackle your Big Game party with food safety plays

Hosting a party for the Big Game on Sunday? Providing a buffet is the easiest way to feed a crowd with a variety of delicious appetizers and snacks to munch on during the big game. Keep in mind that the pre-game, during the game and post-game could go on for several hours; consider setting food out at halftime or feeding your crowd prior to kickoff. Regardless of your decision follow these guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to keep your fans safe:

Keep it clean. Before handling food, thoroughly wash hands, food, prep areas, tools, fruits and vegetables. Remember, meat does not need to be washed.

Cook it well. Purchase a food thermometer to measure minimum internal temperatures of your favorite food items like wings, hot dips and grilled foods. Never rely on color or juices running clear as the determining factor of whether or not it is done.

Watch the time. Follow recommended microwave cooking and standing times (the extra minutes needed for food to cook completely). Keep an eye on your buffet and discard foods after two hours if it hasn’t been properly kept hot or cold with heating or cooling sources.

Keep it safe. Use slow cookers or warming trays to keep hot food hot at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Keep in mind before you put food on the buffet, it has to have been heated to a minimum internal cooking temperature first. Never use the heat holding devices to heat your food. Keep all of your cold foods, like cut fruits and veggies, salsa and dips at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Utilize the double bowl system with ice in the bottom bowl and your dip or produce in the top bowl to keep the food at its coldest. Replace ice often.

Avoid mix-ups. Separate raw meats from ready-to-eat foods, like veggies. Make sure you have enough serving utensils for each food item you are offering. Keep an eye out for the “double dippers;” try to prevent this from happening by having small plates to discourage eating directly from bowls with dips or sauces.

Protect all “to go’s.” Anything that has been out two hours or longer that is perishable needs to be discarded at the end of the game. Divide leftovers into smaller containers, place in shallow containers and refrigerate. Never place a large pot of chili, stew or sauce in the fridge to cool; it will not cool properly in a safe amount of time. Advise guests to refrigerate “to go” items as soon as they reach their home.

Michigan State University Extension recommends football fans take some time to plan for their event, regardless if it is big or small. It is estimated that Americans consume one billion chicken wings during the Big Game, it is important to make sure they are cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving. By investing in a good food thermometer, being aware of the temperature danger zone (between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, where harmful bacteria grows) you set yourself up for a victory – regardless of who wins the game.

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