Even if the game turns out to be a clunker, Super Bowl Sunday is always good for one thing: food. An estimated 188.5 million people will tune in to watch the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, according to the National Retail Federation. Nearly 80 percent of the $14.1 billion spent by consumers on the game will go toward food and drink. With all the game-day distractions, it’s easy to overlook the importance of food safety, said Crystal Cates, Tidelands Health clinical nutrition manager. Here are a few simple tips to help ensure the game is memorable for all the right reasons:
- Most foodborne bacteria grow in the temperature “danger zone” between 40 degrees and 140 degrees. Keep hot food above 140 degrees during your get-together by using a warming tray or crock pot. Salsa, dips, guacamole and other foods can be kept cold by placing them in a small serving bowl placed inside a larger, ice-filled dish.
- Avoid cross contamination by preparing and storing ready-to-eat foods, such as fruit and vegetables, separately from foods meant to be cooked.
- Use a different plate to transport food to and from the grill or, if you are using only one plate, wash it between trips.
- Always use a food thermometer to test that meat and poultry are cooked to the proper temperature. Check out this chart as a guide.
- Food left at room temperature should be discarded after two hours. Halftime is a great opportunity to consider refreshing your food offerings. Store leftover food in small dishes in the refrigerator and eat within a few days (or freeze it).
- If you’re traveling with food, use an insulated dish to help maintain proper temperature while in transit.
- Make sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water before preparing food.