Janice López-Muñoz is a member of the Food Safety Education Staff at the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
It’s coming. The most popular TV event of the year—Super Bowl Sunday! That means a day full of the 5 Fs—Fun, Family, Friends, Food, and Football. The pressure is on. No one wants to host a Super Bowl party and then hear from their guests that they got foodborne illness from your party spread. Food safety is also an important concern for people with cancer.
Here is a list of tips from the USDA to help people stay healthy and food safe while they watch the big game.
Wash your hands frequently with warm soapy water for 20 seconds, especially after handling raw foods. This is the best way to reduce the spread of germs and prevent foodborne illness. While enjoying foods, encourage party guests to wash hands before and after eating. Have disposable towelettes nearby for a quick touch up.
Your goal is to avoid cross-contamination. When grocery shopping, keep raw meat and poultry separate from produce and other food items in your shopping cart. Place raw foods in plastic bags to stop their juices, which may contain harmful bacteria, from dripping onto other foods. When preparing your Super Bowl party trays, cut your fruits and veggies on a cutting board that has not touched raw meat and poultry products. This will help you avoid cross-contamination.
Don’t forget to use your food thermometer! A thermometer is the only way to be sure that your meat, poultry, seafood, and egg products are safe. If your Super Bowl menu includes chicken wings, they should reach a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), as measured by a food thermometer.
To keep food out of the “danger zone” (40°F to 140°F, 4°C to 60°C), make sure hot foods—like pizza and wings—stay hot and cold foods—like guacamole—stay cold. When setting out food, be sure to serve cold foods in small portions so they don’t warm up into the danger zone. You can also use an ice bath to keep dishes cold and keep hot foods in a preheated oven. Put leftovers in the refrigerator within 2 hours.
You made it. Touchdown! By following these food safety steps, you can ensure that you won’t get flagged for a food safety penalty.
If you need some encouragement or extra coaching with your food safety game, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or email email@example.com. You can also chat live with a USDA food safety specialist at AskUSDA, available from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, in English or Spanish.