Hosting a Super Bowl party this year? Don’t drop the ball when it comes to food safety.
According to the National Chicken Council, a record-breaking 14.1 billion wings are expected to be consumed this Super Bowl Sunday – and that doesn’t even include all the pizza, nachos, dip or sliders folks will chow down.
With large crowds, lots of food and a long game time ahead, food experts say if you’re not careful, it could be the recipe for foodborne illnesses.
The United States Department of Agriculture shared some guidelines to keep you and your guests safe this Super Bowl Sunday.
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Always be sure to wash your hands. A USDA study revealed participants failed 99% of the time when washing their hands by not following handwashing steps correctly. Be sure you’re wetting your hands with running water and lathering them in soap for at least 20 seconds. Then proceed to rinse and dry with a clean towel.
Pick a side
Keep raw meat and other ready-to-eat foods separated during preparation and cooking. That means also remembering to use a separate cutting board and clean knife for foods like vegetables, fruits or raw meats. If not, you run the risk of cross-contamination.
And if you’re cutting the key ingredient to your guacamole dip, be careful with how you cut the avocado – or else you put yourself at risk for a pretty serious hand injury better known as the “avocado hand.”
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advises you to use a sharp carving knife to cut around the pit of your avocado and remove the pit with a spoon. You should never wrap your hand around the avocado or blade.
Meat and poultry need to be cooked at a certain internal temperature to kill off bacteria. You can use a food thermometer to ensure your food has reached the recommended temperature. The USDA says whole cuts of meat should reach 145 °F, with a three-minute rest time, and chicken wings should reach at least 165 °F.
Watch the clock
The average time of a Super Bowl game is nearly four hours, so it’s important to keep hot food hot and cold food cold. That prevents the growth of bacteria. The USDA suggests keeping two separate portions of hot and cold food for easy swapping throughout the game. You can serve one portion at the beginning of the game and swap out for the refrigerated second portion during halftime.
Avoid the danger zone
Don’t leave food sitting out for more than two hours or else you’ll find yourself in what the USDA calls the “danger zone – where bacteria start to grow rapidly at a temperature between 40 °F and 140 °F. To avoid this the USDA suggests dividing small portions of leftovers in containers to put in the fridge or freezer. When reheating leftovers, be sure they reach a temperature of 165 °F.
Follow Jazmin Goodwin on Twitter: @jazminkgooodwin.