Super Bowl LIV is set to kick off this Sunday at 6:30 EST. The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers will be facing off for the Lombardi Trophy in Miami. This game should be a classic matchup of a great offense against a great defense.
But if you’re hosting a Super Bowl party, you’re also going to need to play great offense and defense to prevent food poisoning. Large crowds and the length of the game can contribute to a higher risk of food poisoning. With more than 1.3 billion chicken wings and 8 million pounds of guacamole, a strong food safety game plan is vital for winning this year’s party.
Follow these tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) to avoid getting sick this Super Bowl Sunday:
On the offensive
- Wash your hands
- In a recent USDA study, participants who attempted to wash their hands failed 99 percent of the time, not following all the steps of correct handwashing. Make sure you wet your hands with running water and lather them with soap for a full 20 seconds. Then rinse and dry with a clean towel or paper towel.
- Don’t wash chicken, wings or otherwise. Washing is not recommended because bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can splash and spread to other foods, utensils and surfaces, contaminating them.
- When you are shopping at the grocery store keep raw meat, poultry, eggs and seafood in separate plastic bags to prevent their juices from dripping onto other foods.
- Always remember to use a separate cutting board for fresh fruits and vegetables and for raw meats.
- Raw meat, poultry, seafood and egg products need to be cooked to the right internal temperature. Use a food thermometer to ensure foods have reached the correct temperature to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present.
- Chicken wings and other poultry is safe to eat when they have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Before indulging, take the temperature of multiple wings in the thickest part of the wing being careful to avoid the bone.
- Whole cuts of meat should reach 145 degrees F, with a three-minute rest time.
- Keep raw meats away from ready-to-eat foods.
Play a strong defense
- Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
- Keep food hot at 140 degrees F or above in a slow cooker or chafing dish, or keep half of the food on the table and the other in the oven and replacing what’s on the table with fresh items every hour.
- Keep cold foods cold at 40 degrees F or below by placing salads, dips and salsa in a tray of ice. When setting food out, be sure to serve cold foods in small portions. and replenish serving dishes often.
- Don’t leave food sitting out.
- Most bacteria grow rapidly at a temperature between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F. That temperature range is known as the “Danger Zone.”
- Refrigerate food promptly. Do not leave food at room temperature for more than two hours. This is especially important as the average Super Bowl length is three hours and 44 minutes, nearly twice as long as food should be left out at room temperature.
- Serve one portion as the game starts and keep another portion in the refrigerator or oven to set out after halftime to prevent dangerous bacteria from growing.
- Before those two hours are up, place small portions of leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate them promptly. When you’re reheating leftovers, make sure they reach 165 °F.
If you have questions, contact the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety expert or chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.
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