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A man bastes meat on a barbecue grillWith fall sports comes food and tailgating.  What are the game rules for food safety?

1.       Wash your hands.  And everything else that will touch the food including dishes and utensils.  This is the most important part of your event.  Harmful microorganisms can be easily transferred from your hands to food and cause foodborne illness to occur.

2.       Bring along a food thermometer.  Cook foods thoroughly.  The color of the meat is not enough to know if it is done.  The only safe way to know if your food is done is to use a food thermometer.  Cooking food to proper temperatures ensure that harmful bacteria will be destroyed.

Food Item

Internal  Temperature

All poultry

165° F

Ground meats (except poultry)

160° F

Steaks and Chops

145° F

Hotdogs and Brats

165° F

Ribs

160° F

3.       Pack several coolers.  Raw food should be stored separate from ready to eat food.  And, ice used for beverages should always be kept in a separate cooler.  Keep it cold – below 40° F.

4.       Have disposable or extra plates and utensils available so that you don’t have to reuse utensils for raw versus cooked foods.  Don’t cross-contaminate.  Raw juices from uncooked food can transfer bacteria onto cooked food if you use the same plate or utensils without cleaning them.

5.       Don’t forget to pack containers or wrap for leftovers.  Food needs to stay hot at 140° F or stay cold at 40° F to be safe.  When you are finished eating, safely package leftovers away at the proper temperatures to be safe.  Food should not set out at unsafe temperatures for longer than 2 hours.

Source:  University of Minnesota Extension, Tailgating Food Safety, http://www1.extension.umn.edu/food/food-safety/preserving/safe-meals/tailgating-tips/tailgating-food-safety-fact-sheet/

FDA Consumer Healthy Information, Keeping Bacteria at Bay, www.fda.gov/consumer

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, goard.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County.

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