Winging it for the Super Bowl

Super Bowl Sunday, the day of the annual championship game of the National Football League, may as well be a national holiday with the number of people who gather to celebrate football — and watch the famously funny and/or tear-jerking television ads that air during the game.

Chicken wings are the top menu item for the hundreds of thousands of Super Bowl parties taking place across the U.S. on Sunday. A record-breaking 1.35 billion wings are expected to be consumed during Super Bowl weekend, according to the National Chicken Council.

While the game is important to some, the real highlight of the day is football party food: guacamole, chili, ribs, nachos, and of course, the king of them all, the chicken wing. Nearly 1.35 billion wings are a lot; the National Chicken Council says that with that many wings, you could put 625 wings on every seat in every NFL stadium in the U.S., and the number of wings could circle the earth three times.

Whether you’re hosting or attending a party this weekend, keep an eye out for these food safety concerns:

  • Food shouldn’t be left at room temperature for more than two hours, or else bacteria can easily grow to dangerous levels.
  • When preparing food, keep raw meat separate from all other foods by storing it within its own container, and avoid using the same utensils between raw meat and other foods.
  • When cooking up some wings, ensure the chicken is cooked to the safe internal temperature of 165°F to kill bacteria. Salmonella is a type of bacteria commonly found in raw chicken, and can give you a nasty case of food poisoning if consumed. Nobody should consume rare or undercooked chicken.
  • Don’t be a dip regarding the dip. George Costanza was wrong. No double-dipping — the bacteria in your mouth doesn’t belong in a shared bowl of dipping sauce, so dip once and move on. (Ranch dressing is the most popular chicken dipping sauce, according to surveys.)

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