Don’t let your food safety practices drop with your tailgate

Tailgate_D3Campaign2012_resizedDating back more than 140 years, the tradition known as the tailgate is practiced by approximately 50 million people in the U.S. each year and has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry.  Although cooler weather is in the forecast for this weekend’s college and professional football games, that will not stop fans everywhere from coming together in parking lots across the nation for their beloved pre- and post-game tailgates.

The menu for these events has fast become one of the most crucial parts to a successful tailgate and while party planners and “grill masters” everywhere think they have their bases covered, has provided several tips to tackle food safety and to ensure you and your guests are not sidelined with nasty foodborne illnesses.

For example, some of these tips include:

  • Make sure separate plates and utensils that are used for raw meat and cooked meat to avoid cross contamination.
  • Bring a meat thermometer to your tailgate so you can be sure you have cooked all raw meat to minimum safe temperatures. (Steaks, roasts, and chops: 145°F. Beef, pork, veal and lamb: 160°F. Turkey and chicken: 165°F.)
  • Meats should be wrapped securely and placed at the bottom of the cooler so that their juices don’t contaminate other foods.
  • Pack cold, raw perishable foods in an insulated cooler containing either several inches of ice or frozen gel packs.
  • Keep hot food hot during the drive to your tailgate. When you arrive check temperatures and reheat if necessary to 165°F before serving.
  • If you are serving take-out food, make sure that it is eaten within two hours and is also served at the correct temperature if it’s a hot dish.

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