The third Friday of December is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. On this day, get in the holiday spirit and flaunt those ugly holiday sweaters you have been too embarrassed to wear in public.
Hosting your own Ugly Sweater Holiday Party? Even tacky sweater party hosts should follow simple food safety principles and procedures for group cooking.
A popular way to celebrate holidays or any party occasion is to cook a lot of food and invite friends and family. However, this type of food service – where foods are left out for long periods – leaves the door open for uninvited guests – bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Festive times for giving and sharing should not include sharing foodborne illness.
Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Food Safety Tips
Hosting a Ugly Sweater party for friends and family? National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day can be a lot of fun, but don’t let food illness ruin the memorable occasion. Follow these simple food safety tips:
- Unpasteurized juice or cider. Beware unpasteurized juice or cider can contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella. To stay safe, always serve pasteurized products at your parties.
- Raw dough or cake. No matter how tempting, don’t taste raw cookie dough or cake batter that contain uncooked eggs.
- Keep Perishable foods refrigerated. Keep all perishable foods chilled until serving time. These include finger sandwiches, cheese platters, fruit or tossed salads, cold pasta dishes with meat, poultry, or seafood, and cream pies or cakes with whipped-cream and cream-cheese frostings.
- Use the 2-hour rule. Bacteria will multiply if you let foods sit out too long. Don’t leave perishable goodies out of the fridge for more than two hours (1 hour in temperatures above 90°F).
- Learn about foodborne pathogens, cross contamination, cold and hot food safety, and best practices to prevent foodborne illness.
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Cooking for Groups
By following four simple steps, you can protect your families and friends and keep your food safe.
- Clean—Wash hands and surfaces often.
- Separate—Separate raw meats from other foods.
- Cook—Cook to the right temperature.
- Chill—Refrigerate food promptly.
Bacteria Danger Zone
Bacteria multiply rapidly between 40°F and 140°F. To keep food out of this “Danger Zone,” keep cold food cold and hot food hot. Keep food cold in the refrigerator, in coolers, or on the serving line on ice. Keep hot food in the oven, in heated chafing dishes, or in preheated steam tables, warming trays and/or slow cookers.
Never leave perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, eggs and casseroles in the “Danger Zone” over 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90°F.
Additional Resources – Cooking for Groups Food Safety
- Cooking for Groups FSIS Image Library – Brochure graphics are offered here in a high resolution format (EPS) and low resolution format (JPG). Most are available in color or black and white (B/W).
- 7 Food Safety Steps for Successful Community Meals | PDF
- Cooking for Groups: A Volunteer’s Guide to Food Safety (USDA)
Prepare and serve food safely for large groups such as family reunions, church dinners, and community gatherings.
- “No-Show” Guests Jeopardize Food (USDA)
If a meal must be delayed or cancelled, food must be handled “just right” to remain safe.
- Holiday or Party Buffets (USDA)
When foods are left out for long periods, you may have uninvited guests — bacteria that cause foodborne illness.