Over 100 million television viewers will consume approximately 1.3 billion chicken wings during game day parties. With an average NFL game taking more than three hours to play, Americans will be mixing plenty of football watching with food during the big game.
No one wants an after-game hangover compounded with food poisoning. To avoid this, it is important to keep foods out of the “danger zone,” which is holding foods at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F, during the entire time food is placed out for serving. When foods are left out at room temperature for long periods and cross into the danger zone temperatures, bacteria multiplies rapidly and food can become quickly contaminated. This includes game day favorites like pizza and chicken wings. If it is your job to pick up commercially prepared food, make sure the food is hot when you pick it up and keep it hot by wrapping the containers in blankets during transport.
Football Party Game Plan
Serving Hot Food Immediately
If hot foods are to be served immediately, keep them at 140 °F or above by placing in chafing dishes, on preheated warming trays or in slow cookers.
Serving Hot Food Later
If hot foods will not be served immediately, keep them warm in a preheated oven, or divide the food into smaller portions, place in shallow containers, and refrigerate. At serving time, reheat to 165 °F before serving.
Serving Cold Food
Cold foods should served at 40 °F or below, which can be done by nesting dishes in bowls of ice.
Verify foods are at proper temperatures by using a food thermometer to ensure foods being served are not in the “danger zone.” Be the food official and make sure everyone stays safe while enjoying the game.
Here’s to a great “food safe” football party for you and all your friends.