With tailgating season in full swing, there can be an increased risk for foodborne illnesses.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one in six Americans get sick each year from contaminated food. Home safety expert Cheryl Luptowski of NSF International, a not-for-profit public safety organization, has created a list of tailgating
safety tips to help prevent foodborne illnesses.
The first tip to avoid foodborne illness is simple: Wash your hands. Luptowski recommends bringing hand sanitizer and wet wipes with you to the game to clean your hands. Always wash your hands before and after touching raw meat and before you eat.
Luptowski also suggests bringing two sets of dishes: one set to use while cooking raw meat and the other to use for after your food has been cooked. Do not mix cooking utensils with serving and eating utensils.
Another tip is to purchase a meat thermometer, which can be found at Target, Meijer or almost any store that sells cooking products.
To prevent undercooked food, make sure your whole or ground poultry is cooked at 165 F, other ground meats are cooked at 160 F, fresh fin fish 145 F, fresh whole (not ground) pork, beef and veal is cooked at 145 F with a three-minute rest time, which destroys harmful bacteria.
If you are going to use a marinade to baste cooked food with, do not use the same marinade that has come into contact with raw meat.
Bring three coolers for safe tailgating. Use one for foods like veggies, dip and coleslaw; one for drinks; and the third should be used for meat, poultry and fish. Put ice on top of the food and make sure the temperature stays at 40 F or below. Open the coolers as little as possible to maintain their temperatures.
Bring trash bags to dispose of leftover food before leaving the tailgating grounds, and don’t leave leftovers or garbage in your car, which would allow bacteria to grow. Instead, find a trash can on the premises.
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