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USDA Offers Food Safety ‘Plays’ for Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday is about much more than football. In fact, when many people think about the Super Bowl, they think about the mouth-watering appetizers, delicious buffalo wings, and spicy chili that they will enjoy with their friends.

Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest food consumption day of the year in the U.S. (behind Thanksgiving). This means there are more opportunities for a food-safety fumble to cause food poisoning while preparing and serving game-day party foods in the home.

While chips, finger foods, and dips might be a football fan favorite, these dishes involve a lot of people sharing communal items, which increases the risk of foodborne illness. Also, if you serve buffet style, that means foods will be left out for long periods of time — all of these scenarios can be recipes for disaster.

In January, Kansas State University released the results of a study that tracked parents’ food-handling behavior in the kitchen. After preparing a test meal that included meat injected with tracer bacteria, 82 percent of study participants left meat-originating bacteria around the kitchen on sinks, refrigerators, and cabinet handles.

To promote safe food handling, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a food-safety playbook to help you keep your Super Bowl food both safe and delicious.

Plays to Food Safe Homemade Chicken Wings

  • Make sure your frying oil temperature is 375 degrees F before starting to fry.
  • Before frying, pat dry the chicken wings to prevent oil splatter when submerged in hot oil.
  • Make sure not to overcrowd the chicken wings in the frying basket. If the wings are crowded, they can be undercooked.
  • To take a temperature of your wings, place them on a clean plate covered in paper towels. Use a clean food thermometer to check the internal temperature; for food safety, the temperature should be 165 degrees F. You should measure several wings before you finish cooking each batch.
  • If the wings are below the minimum safe internal temperature of 165 degrees F, submerge them again in the hot oil.

Plays to a Food Safe Buffet

  • Keep hot food hot and cold food cold.
  • Hot foods must have a heat source to keep them warmer than 140 degrees F.
  • Cold foods should be kept on ice to remain at a safe temperature below 40 degrees F.
  • Perishable foods left out longer than two hours should be discarded and replenished with fresh servings.

Plays to a Food Safe Kitchen Towel

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds to avoid spreading bacteria to your towels.
  • Never reuse paper towels. This product is for single use only. When used multiple times, bacteria can find their way onto the towel and hitch a ride around the kitchen.
  • Kitchen towels build up bacteria after multiple uses. To keep bacteria from getting the upper hand, you should wash your kitchen towels frequently in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

Consumers can learn more about key food-safety practices at Foodsafety.gov and follow @USDAFoodSafety on Twitter. Consumers with questions about food safety can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food-safety specialist at AskKaren.gov, which is available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, in English or Spanish.

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