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Tailgating Food Safety Tips for Rivalry Weekend

The world of college football traditionally reserves Thanksgiving weekend for its rivalry bowls. And with big bowl games, tailgating parties are never too far behind.

Considering the amount of potentially hazardous food prepared at many tailgating parties, Food Safety News has compiled a number of food safety recommendations to keep in mind over the weekend.

Keep meats cool and wrapped:

Be sure to use a cooler packed with sufficient amounts of ice or frozen gel packs if you plan on transporting meats. A thermometer placed in the cooler helps ensure temperatures stay below the recommended 40 degrees F. Any raw meat packages should also be wrapped in plastic to avoid any juice cross-contaminating other food in the cooler.

Keep hot foods hot:

If you aren’t sure you can keep food in the range of 140 degrees F until it’s ready to serve at a tailgating party, it’s strongly advised that you cool it below 40 degrees F until it’s ready to reheat and serve. That said, soups and chili can usually be kept hot for several hours in an insulated container. For better results, fill the container with boiling water and let it stand for several minutes to heat the container before emptying and adding your hot food.

Wash hands:

Unclean hands can contribute significantly to the spread of bacteria. Wash your hands with soap and warm water before handling food. If there isn’t running water nearby, bring hand sanitizing wipes to use throughout the day.

Marinate the right way:

Keep all marinating food in the refrigerator — never on the counter. If the recipe calls for additional marinating during or after cooking, be sure to store some marinade before it touches any meat. Do not marinate cooked meat with any marinade that has touched raw meat. As with any other meat, transport marinated meat in a cooler that stays below at least 40 degrees F.

Cook meat to minimum internal temperatures:

Meat thermometers are an excellent way to ensure any grilled meat has reached the minimum safe internal temperatures.

Those temperatures, for a refresher, are:

Poultry: 165 degrees F

Ground meats: 160 degrees F

Beef, pork, lamb, veal: 145 degrees F

Any leftovers: 165 degrees F

Avoid cross-contamination:

Juices from raw meat can contaminate any cooked meat if they touched the same surfaces and objects, such as platters and tongs. Use clean surfaces and utensils when taking cooked meat off the grill.

Pack leftovers safely before the game:

Don’t leave any leftovers sitting in the car outside safe temperatures. Store all food items in coolers before watching the game or heading home. Remaining food should not be left above 40 degrees F for more than two hours.

© Food Safety News