Health & WellnessHow To's

Holiday Party Food Safety Tips

By Tawnya Manion | December 23, 2013

Photo: USDAgov

Photo: USDAgov

The holiday season consists of numerous parties. Many where we’re called upon to make or take food to an event. Usually, people set out edibles on a buffet table, and people graze throughout the evening. However, when food is left out at room temperature for too long it starts to be a breading ground for bacteria, which could possibly cause illnesses. To ensure a safe and smooth holiday, practice these following tips to keeping the food at your celebrations innocuous. 

Food that has been left at room temperature for longer then four hours is spoiled. No ones like to throw away sustenance, but once food as been left out for longer then four hours it needs to be pitched. Keep hot edibles sizzling (140 F or warmer) by using chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays. Also, keep cold noshes cold (40 F or cooler) by keeping them on ice. That way if you want to give your guests doggy bags you know that the food is safe.

Use a food thermometer. Poultry and stuffing needs to have an internal temperature of 165 F. Pork, beef, and fish need an internal temperature of 145 F. Take the measurement at the innermost part of the bird’s thigh and wing-and the thickest part of the breast.

Minimize temperature fluctuations. When taking meals from your kitchen to another’s it’s important to minimize temperature fluctuations during travel. First, remove food from the heat source just before leaving the house. Second, transfer it to a thermal container, wrap in a heavy towel for extra insulation and place in a thermal tote or insulated bag. If you are bringing cold foods use a cooler filled half way with ice.

Safely handle leftovers. Refrigerate all remaining food in a shallow container within 2 hours of serving. Properly stored leftovers can be kept for 3 to 4 days. However, if you are in doubt of the quality, throw it out. Lastly, reheat leftovers to 165 F before serving.

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