BENNINGTON — While many football lovers can be found stuffing their face with chicken wings, pizza and beer this Sunday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) urges viewers to stay food safe, especially when hosting a large crowd.
In an effort to avoid a foodborne illness, the USDA's Food and Inspection Service put together a list of reminders when preparing and serving food for the Super Bowl, stated in a press release from the Food Safety Education Staff.
Alternate dishes during halftime so that perishable foods aren't kept out for more than two hours.
In order to avert rapid bacteria, keep food out of the "Danger Zone," which is the temperature range between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep "hot food hot and cold food cold."
Use a food thermometer when cooking all types of meat and poultry. Whole "raw beef, pork, lamb and veal should be cooked at 145" degrees Fahrenheit and then rest for three minutes while ground up "beef, pork, lamb, and veal should be cooked at 160" degrees Fahrenheit while all poultry should reach at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Try not to determine the readiness of meat by the color and instead use a food thermometer. When feeding more than just the host, it's crucial to cook for the guest's safety as well.
Maintain a clean cooking space by washing counters and hands before and after cutting or cooking meat or poultry.
"This Super Bowl Sunday, sports fans across the U.S. will have a great time watching the game with friends and family, while sharing some of our favorite foods that we are fortunate in this country to enjoy," Al Almanza, deputy under secretary for food safety said in the press release. "A long game and a big crowd means more opportunities for food poisoning, but some easy precautions can go far in preventing illness."
Perhaps gathering food suggestions before the big day can help separate whether or not guests want all cold food or all hot. It also might be more effective to cook all dishes at home or host a potluck instead of risking a foodborne illness from catered dishes.
For more information on food safety visit foodsafety.gov.
-Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.