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Touchdown Tips for Food Safety

According to the American Dietetic Association, the average sports fan partakes in tailgating five times during a football season. And according to a recent survey, most tailgaters take unnecessary food-poisoning risks. Food is often kept at temperatures that promote bacterial contamination. Many tailgaters also recycle pre-game picnic food to eat again after the game.

Follow these guidelines to keep your food out of the danger zone:

  • Make sure foods that will be served cold are cold before you put them in the cooler.
  • Don't use a cooler that's too large. A full cooler will keep foods cold longer.
  • Carefully package raw meat. Put it in the bottom of the cooler to avoid drips and cross-contamination
  • Pack coolers just before you leave for the game, and use ice packs to maintain temperatures.
  • Use a thermometer in your cooler to be sure foods stay at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Keep coolers out of the sun, perhaps under a tree.
  • Bring waterless hand sanitizer or moistened towelettes to keep hands clean.
  • Bring a meat thermometer to ensure that burgers and brats are cooked to 160 degrees and chicken breasts to 170 degrees.
  • Throw away any perishable foods that are left from your pre-game picnic so no one will be tempted to eat them after the game.
  • Do not leave food unrefrigerated for more than two hours. In hot weather (90 degrees or above), the time limit is one hour.

These guidelines aren't intended just for those on the traveling team; follow them even if you're enjoying the showdown from your living room. When you're equipped with a plan for healthy eating, your tailgate (or television) party can be a success all the way to the final whistle.

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