Making party plans for the big football game? By following simple food safety rules from our game-winning playbook, you’ll provide the best defense to avoid letting your teammates get sacked by foodborne illness this Super Bowl. You may also get voted as MVP for best Super Bowl party host!
Food Safety Tips
Food illness has many causes. Primarily because of leaving food out too long. But, food illness generally occurs when people eat food that contains bacteria, parasites, viruses, or toxins. Most cases are caused by common bacteria such as staphylococcus or E. coli.
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- Begin your party food prep by washing hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
- Wash and sanitize dishware and utensils before using them to prepare, warm, cook or serve any foods.
- Don’t cross-contaminate your food.
- Keep all raw meat and poultry away from ready to eat foods while preparing and mixing items.
- Use clean and different utensils for each dish, and avoid using your own personal utensil to serve yourself foods from the buffet.
Use a food thermometer to ensure that all meats, poultry and other cooked food items have been cooked to a safe internal temperature before serving. Any previously cooked foods being reheated must be reheated to a safe internal temperature of 165°F, or steaming hot before serving.
Making sure food items are properly heated and cooked will kill bacteria that may try to tackle your guests. Refer to the Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures chart below for the “rest time” of meats—the period after cooking that some meats need to rest before serving to ensure that germs are killed.
Here are the recommended internal temperatures for some Super Bowl party favorites:
|Category||Food||Temperature (°F)||Rest Time|
|Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures||Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb||160||None|
|Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb||Steaks, roasts, chops||145||3 minutes|
|Poultry||Chicken & Turkey, whole||165||None|
|Poultry breasts, roasts||165||None|
|Poultry thighs, legs, wings||165||None|
|Duck & Goose||165||None|
|Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird)||165||None|
|Pork and Ham||Fresh pork||145||3 minutes|
|Fresh ham (raw)||145||3 minutes|
|Precooked ham (to reheat)||140||None|
|Eggs & Egg Dishes||Eggs||Cook until yolks and
white are firm
|Leftovers & Casseroles||Leftovers||165||None|
|Seafood||Fin Fish||145 or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.||None|
|Shrimp, lobster, and crabs||Cook until flesh is pearly and opaque.||None|
|Clams, oysters, and mussels||Cook until shells open during cooking.||None|
|Scallops||Cook until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm.||None|
Watch the Time – Leftovers
The game is over, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose your food or your health! Track the time that food stays on the buffet. Sideline any perishable foods that have been out at room temperature for 2 hours or more.
After foods have been sitting at room temperature for 2 hours, either place foods in the refrigerator, change the cold sources or throw out foods you know have been sitting since pre-game coverage.
- Bacteria love temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, and will grow rapidly if they are in this temperature environment for more than 2 hours. Read more about the Danger Zone.
- Divide leftovers into smaller portions or pieces, place in shallow containers, and refrigerate.
- Leftover foods should be refrigerated at 40°F or below as soon as possible and within two hours of preparation. It’s OK to put hot foods directly into the refrigerator.
- Refrigerate leftovers for three to four days at most. Freeze them if you won’t be eating the leftovers sooner.
- Leftovers should be reheated to at least 165°F (74°C) before serving.
USDA Radio Interviews
- Avoid Food Safety Infractions During Super Bowl Parties
- Stop Food Safety Penalties for Super Bowl Parties
- Don’t let that super bowl party penalize you with sickness
- How to Avoid Penalizing Your Super Bowl Party Guest
- How Offside and Illegal Use of Hands Apply to Food
- Tweeting a Winnings Combination—The Big Game and Food Safety
- Food Safety—Super Bowl Cooking with Martie Duncan
- 4 Steps to Food Safety—Clean, Separate, Cook & Chill
- Four Steps to Food Safety (Flickr)
- Cooking for Groups (Flickr)
- Super Bowl Party Food Safety Playbook (Flickr)