FRESH

Sunday, February 25, 2024
AgricultureBusinessFood + Hospitality

Keep chili warm and cold foods cold; for a safe game day buffet stay out of the danger zone

Safely serving friends and family during the big game is a win for everyone; don’t fumble it this Super Bowl Sunday. Whether you’re ordering delivery or preparing and serving food to guests, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has some gameday plans to keep your Super Bowl from being intercepted by foodborne illness.

Chili is a favorite for game day but must be served with caution.

“Harmful foodborne illness-causing bacteria will not multiply at temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why we recommend keeping hot foods hot if they will be held longer than 2 hours,” says Meredith Carothers, public affairs specialist at the Food Safety and Inspection Service. “The quality may start to diminish if it is in there for an extended period, but you can make it the duration of the Super Bowl with chili on ‘low’ or ‘keep warm.’”

So here’s the verdict regarding chili food safety: You can leave it in the slow cooker for hours after it’s done cooking if the cooker is set to the “low” or “keep warm” setting.

Remember to set a timer if you don’t want to keep your chili in a slow cooker during the game and instead put it in a dish on the snack table.

“If the chili is not in a slow cooker that is on ‘low’ or ‘keep warm,’ it will need to follow the two-hour rule,” Carothers says. “When perishable foods are in the ‘danger zone,’ when the temperature range is between 40 to 140 degrees, foodborne-illness bacteria can reach dangerous levels after two hours.”

Many other foods will be on game day menus, and most are subject to a few rules to maintain their safety.

“Super Bowl parties are a fun time for people to unwind and enjoy the big game, but food safety must remain a top priority,” said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Emilio Esteban. “Simple steps like not leaving food out at room temperature for more than two hours or keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold can help keep your friends and family safe.”

Follow these USDA tips to avoid getting caught offside with food safety this Super Bowl Sunday.

Deliveries and Takeout Foods

If you’re ordering takeout earlier in the day before the big game, ensure someone is there to get the food on time. Place any food that is not being eaten immediately in the refrigerator. When storing leftovers, divide them into smaller portions and place them into small, shallow containers. Perishable foods at room temperature must be eaten within two hours after being cooked.

Stay in the In Zone, not the Danger Zone.

If you’re serving food to groups, follow the two-hour rule. When perishable foods sit in the Danger Zone (temperatures between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F) for more than two hours, bacteria can multiply rapidly. Meat and poultry must be refrigerated or frozen within two hours of sitting out on a counter in the Danger Zone. 

If you want to enjoy the big game and serve food longer than two hours, keep hot and cold foods cold. Hot foods must be kept at 140 degrees F or above using warming trays, chafing dishes, or a slow cooker. Cold foods must be kept at 40 degrees F or below. To keep them cold, serve them in smaller portions and refill them, or place the food in containers and nestle them in ice.

Don’t Let Leftovers Sit on the Sidelines

Your Super Bowl leftovers will be safe in the refrigerator for three to four days. Reheat leftovers to the safe internal temperature of 165 degrees F as measured with a food thermometer. Reheat liquid foods like soups and sauces to a boil. Tasting food to determine its safety is dangerous. When in doubt, throw it out!

Always Remember the Four Steps to Food Safety

Clean—Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before, during, and after meal preparation. Clean and sanitize surfaces often with soap, water, and sanitizer. In a recent USDA study, 96 percent of handwashing attempts failed due to missing all the necessary steps.

Separate—Use separate cutting boards: one for raw meat and poultry and another for fruits and vegetables. Keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods and utensils.

Cook—Using a food thermometer, cook meat and poultry products to a safe internal temperature.

Chill—Place foods that are no longer being eaten back into the refrigerator or freezer within two hours of sitting out at room temperature.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News,click here)

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.