Football season is well underway, which means tailgating is back in full swing. Whether you’re hosting a corporate tailgating function or you’re putting one together with friends, it’s important to remember that the same safe food handling practices need to be followed.
- Transport cold foods, such as hamburger patties or chicken breasts, in a cooler that is packed with ice or another method of maintaining a low temperature (ice packs, containers of ice, etc.).
- Ensure that uncooked meats are packaged properly to prevent cross contamination from any juices that might leak.
- Bring cleaning supplies to clean your food prep areas to prevent cross contamination.
- Pack separate cooking utensils for separate food items. The utensils used to prepare the food should not be the same ones that are used to serve it.
- Bring a food thermometer to ensure that all meats are cooked to the proper internal temperature.
- Use insulated containers to keep soup and chili hot for tailgating. Fill the insulated container with boiling water and let stand for 5 minutes. Empty the container and refill it with the freshly cooked soup or chili. This process should help the food stay at 140°F (or above) for several hours.
- If cooking marinated meats, be sure to package separately and transport in a cooler to keep it cold until grilling it.
- Bring separate plates to serve cooked meats. The plate that is used to hold uncooked meats should not be the same plate that is used to serve it.
- Pack an appliance thermometer to ensure that any cooler used stays at 40°F or below.
- Eat any hot take-out food within 2 hours of purchase. If the temperature is above 90°F, then you should eat it within 1 hour.
(Information via USDA FSIS)
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