Football season is in full swing and so are tailgating parties! Are you on track for fun, exciting get-togethers before and after games? You definitely don't want any party poopers such as harmful microorganisms to ruin your fun. Enjoy the parties and football season to the fullest by following food safety tips for tailgating.
People often prepare foods at home and carry them to the tailgating party. This is a good idea and very convenient. However, to keep bacteria from multiplying, it is important to maintain certain temperatures as you travel. Refrigerated foods such as potato salad, coleslaw, and pasta salad should be kept in a cooler with ice packs. Use a refrigerator thermometer to make sure the cooler stays at or below 40 degrees.
If you are transporting raw meat to be cooked at the party, make sure it is sealed well in plastic and is separated from all other foods. Juices from the raw meat can contaminate other foods and cause illness. When you cook the meat, use a food thermometer to check for doneness. Hamburgers and sausage should be cooked to 160 degrees, while chicken should be cooked to 180 degrees. If you reheat previously cooked foods, heat it to 165 degrees.
One of the most important things to remember is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. When foods are left out at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees for more than two hours, this "danger zone" is a great invitation for bacteria to multiply.
Food that has been sitting out for over two hours should be thrown out. When foods are left in the temperature "danger zone" for long periods of time, bacteria use the opportunity to multiply and spread.
Food Safety Tips
In order to enjoy your tailgating experience best, follow these food safety tips:
Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds often, especially before and after handling raw meats. You might pack moist towelettes as well.
Clean thermometers and other utensils between uses.
Keep raw foods separate from cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination.
Use a food thermometer to check for doneness.
Keep perishable food like salads cold.
Keep a refrigerator thermometer in your cooler.
Never leave foods out of refrigerator for more than two hours.
Drinks may be frozen and used in your cooler as ice packs.
To make sure nothing spoils your fun, remember to handle foods properly. The last thing needed is to be sick at the game.