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The Game Plan – For Your Next Tailgate Party

In order to prevent possible food borne illness, you need to have a strategy to keep food safe. Your game plan should include preparing your food for an environment where a stove, a refrigerator, or running water is not readily available. Make sure you pack enough clean utensil for eating and serving the food. You may bring a thermometer along to make sure the food you server is cooked thoroughly. If you serve uncooked meats harmful bacteria can cause serious illness. Make sure you keep the food hot.

Do not eat hot take-out food more than two hours after purchase. It is best to chill the food in a refrigerator before packing for your tailgate party. To keep food like soup, chili, and stew hot, use an insulated container. Fill the container pre-heated with boiling water, and let it stand for a few minutes. Once you have emptied the preheated food container put in the hot food.

Keep the insulated container closed to keep the food hot (140 ° F or above) for several hours. Bring perishable food like hamburger meat, sausages, and chicken in an insulated cooler packed with several inches of ice, frozen gel packs. Other perishable cooked food such as cooked sausages, pasta, and potato must be kept refrigerator cold, too. When packing the cooler for a tailgate party, make sure raw meat and poultry are wrapped securely to prevent their juices from cross-contaminating ready-to-eat food. Actually, it is best to keep raw meat and poultry in a separate icebox from other foods. If there is no drink quality water, bring water for cleaning. Also, bring wet disposable cloths for cleaning hands and surfaces. At your next tailgate party make sure you keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Bacteria multiply rapidly between 40 °F and 140 °F. Avoid leaving food in this “danger zone” more than 2 hours (1 hour when the outside temperature is above 90 °F).

Cook meat and poultry completely. Many people have so much fun at tailgate parties that they never make it into the stadium to see game. Regardless of when and where you eat the food you brought to the party, it doesn’t mean it’s safe for the food to stay unrefrigerated. Store food in the cooler as much as you can and only leave it out briefly while serving. Cook only the amount of food that will be eaten to avoid the challenge of keeping leftovers at a safe temperature. Do not consume any leftovers that are not ice cold after the game.


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