National Consumers League

Food

NCL Food Issues

Game day food safety

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Image of football on grassy fieldWith the Super Bowl coming up this Sunday, many of us are planning for large parties and get-togethers. An essential part of party planning is food safety. Here are a few tips to make sure that you and your friends can enjoy the game without having to worry about picking up a nasty foodborne illness.

 

  • Whether it’s hamburgers or chicken wings, meat is a central part of many people’s Super Bowl plans. Make sure you follow USDA’s recommendations and cook meat to an appropriate internal temperature. That means 165 degrees for chicken, 160 degrees for ground beef and 140 degrees (with a hold time of three minutes) for steaks. Always verify your meat has reached the correct temperature by using a meat thermometer.
  • Remember that cleanliness is one of the strongest weapons against foodborne illness. This means washing your hands before handling food and keeping cooking surfaces clean. It’s important to wash your hands if you are the big night’s chef, but hands should be clean even if you are just eating. Always wash with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before handling any food.
  • If you are preparing both raw meat and other foods, keep these foods apart from each other as cross contamination is a common cause of foodborne illness.  This means washing your hands between preparing a steak and a vegetable platter.  In addition, use separate cutting boards and knives for each food item to avoid cross contamination.
  • As Super Bowl parties can last several hours, it is especially important to make sure your food is not left out for a long period of time.  Remember, foods should only stay at room temperature for two hours so unless you have a way to heat or chill them, discard them if they have been out for more than two hours.

If you follow these tips you and your guests can focus on all the football action rather than the fear of coming down with a foodborne illness the next day.