Food safety tips for tailgating and fall gatherings

This post was written by Lauren Mullins, RDN, LD, clinical registered dietitian nutritionist, Parkview Regional Medical Center.

September means cooler weather, wardrobe changes, falling leaves and football. Gathering with friends and family to watch the game can be fun, but enjoying a yummy spread of delicious food is definitely the most exciting aspect for some. When serving up a game day buffet, keep these few tips in mind to ensure proper preparation and holding techniques during the length of the party.

Size matters

When serving a large group of people, consider preparing multiple small platters ahead of time and replacing serving dishes with fresh food throughout the party. Cold plates can be kept in the refrigerator or on ice, just as long as the temperature of the food remains at 40°F or less. Warm dishes can be kept warm by holding in an oven set between 200-250°F and brought out fresh when new guests arrive. Do not rely on the natural indoor or outdoor temperatures to keep your food safe!

When serving produce, avoid purchasing fruits or vegetables with bruises, wash thoroughly before cutting and keep them cold before serving.

The Two Hour Rule

It’s recommended to discard any perishables such as meat, eggs and casseroles, left out at room temperature for more than two hours, unless they have been properly temperature controlled (avoid the danger zone of temperatures between 41-140°F).

When planning to bring take-out or delivered food to a party, make sure warm food is reheated to an internal temperature of 165°F or greater and held at 140°F or higher. Cold food should be chilled to a temperature less than 40°F before eating.

At the end of the party, when it’s time to clean and pack up, seal or wrap leftover food in shallow containers to allow for proper cooling.

Food stored longer than the recommended time could be at risk for spoiling.

 

 

Sources

FDA
USDA

 

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