Tailgate Safety

Are you planning a tailgate party? If you are, a few well-planned steps may mean the difference between a food-safety nightmare and sure success.

Although you can't see or smell them, and often can't taste them, bacteria are everywhere - especially on foods of animal origin. Under the right conditions bacteria can grow; food may spoil and foodborne illness may occur.

Remember . . . if in doubt, throw it out!

Potatoes, rice, custards, puddings, pies, gravies and stuffings should be served with extreme caution. Time and temperature control of these foods is extremely important.

Which Foods are Safe to Serve?

Single-serving, pre-packaged portions are the safest. Consider offering sandwiches, cookies, or other food items in individual, food-grade plastic bags or film wrap. This will minimize the number of people who come in contact with the food.

Dry foods or those high in sugar are almost always safe. Breads, rolls, cakes (without cream filling), fresh fruits and vegetables, cookies and crackers are safe. Use caution when serving cooked or processed foods such as lunch meat, hot dogs, vegetables and salads.

High-protein foods like meat, milk and dishes containing egg are potentially hazardous.

Be cautious with marinades.

Potatoes, rice, custards, puddings, pies, gravies and stuffings should be served with extreme caution. Time and temperature control of these foods is extremely important.

The life of most deli meats and foods is short. Roast beef, chicken breast, and turkey have a shorter refrigerator life than processed meats or cold cuts.

Follow these simple steps to ensure safety:

  • Buy reasonable quantities.
  • If food won't be served soon, store in a cooler immediately.
  • When you get home, properly wrap and freeze deli meats that won't be eaten within two to four days.
  • REMEMBER most food poisoning bacteria can NOT be seen, smelled, or tasted.
  • Bacteria multiply fastest between temperatures of 40 and 140; it's what we call the Danger Zone

If in doubt, throw it out! Keep hot foods HOT (above 140° F) and cold foods COLD (40° F or below)

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