You might think that throwing some hot cheese chili dip and shrimp cocktail on the table is all fun and games, and well, it is. But you should still be careful while serving snacks this Super Bowl Sunday so as to prevent getting guests sick. There are a few tips to keep your food safe and make sure your guests leave happy and not clutching their stomachs.
Part of the reason it’s so important to keep track of food safety during the big game is because of the length of the Super Bowl: There’s the pre-game, the actual game, the post-game wrap-up and oh, hey, suddenly that cheese dip has been sitting out for hours on end.
Our wise elder siblings at Consumer Reports note that the four hours the game usually takes is twice the amount of time bacteria need to multiply on any food that’s been sitting out at room temperature. According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service, a good safeguard against food mishaps is to serve cold items in a bowl nestled inside a bigger bowl with ice in it, and to use a hot plate for the warm stuff.
Anything that’s been left out for more than two hours without being heated or refrigerated should be tossed out, even if you find yourself starving at the end of the game.
A few other tips from the FSIS:
Dirty hands are your enemy: Finger foods are all the rage at such parties, but dirty hands are really good at spreading bacteria. You and your guests should wash up thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling any of the food. Clean up any surfaces bearing food as well, and wash serving platters before putting out more food.
Beware cross-contamination: If you left some raw chicken wings on your cutting board, make sure to either use another board for say, chopping vegetables so that the juices don’t transmit bacteria or wash it in between uses with hot, soapy water.
Don’t under do it: Make sure those meats and poultry are cooked all the way through with the help of a food thermometer. Steaks should be cooked to 145 degrees F followed by a three minute rest time, ground beef should be cooked to 160 degrees F, and all poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees F.
If you want leftovers, chill: Put anything you want to save after the party directly into the fridge or freezer, dividing large amounts of leftovers into smaller shallow containers so they cool quickly. If it looks or smells funny already, chuck it.
And go, Baltimore Ravens/San Francisco 49ers! Depending on your preference, of course.
Food safety tips to prevent sidelining your Super Bowl guests [Consumer Reports]