Do’s and don’ts for Super Bowl food safety

Do's and don'ts for Super Bowl food safety

The Super Bowl is Sunday, which means two things: football and food! But when some snacks sit out for a long time, they can become a safety hazard.

More than 100 million Americans are expected to throw or attend a Super Bowl party this year, and foodborne illness is no joke. It can cause digestive trouble or even lead to hospitalization or death.

About 1 in 6 Americans get sick each year from foodborne diseases and about 3,000 die, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates.

The best defense? A good offense.

“Keep your hot foods hot and your cold foods cold,” says Meredith Carothers, food safety specialist at the United States Department of Agriculture. “Your dips, you could put on an icebath. You can put meatballs or other things in a slow-cooker to keep them hot. That’ll help keep those foods at a safe temperature where bacteria can’t grow and multiply.”

Food can go foul faster than you think. The USDA says if you can’t control the temperature, there’s a 2-hour limit. After that, it needs to go back in the fridge or oven.

“You could put a smaller bowl of something out first, and then you could rotate that out after your 2 hour timeframe,” Carothers says. “When you rotate things out, you also have to rotate out or clean the utensil that it’s in.”

She suggests setting a 2-hour timer on your phone to remind you and to use a food thermometer to make sure food reaches a safe internal temperature.

Another tip? Place a bottle of hand sanitizer by the buffet, since so many favorites are finger foods.

“Helps at least get some of the germs taken care of,” Carothers says.

And when the party’s over, be sure to put leftovers in the fridge quickly.

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