Score big : six game rules for food safety
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Score big : six game rules for food safety

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      Tackling a buffet at your Super Bowl gathering? Practice these game rules and keep the runs on the field.

      Keep it clean. Before you eat or handle food, thoroughly wash your hands, food prep tools and surfaces, and all fruits and veggies.

      Cook it well. Measure minimum internal temperatures with a food thermometer. For party faves, like chicken wings and ground beef sliders, make sure that they reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit and 160 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.

      Be a winner. Invest in a good food thermometer for you or someone you love.

      Watch the clock. Follow recommended microwave cooking and standing times (the extra minutes needed for food to cook completely). Track how long foods have been on the buffet. Discard after two hours.

      Keep it safe. Use chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays to keep hot food at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Keep cold foods, like salsa and dips, at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Next serving dishes in bowls of ice or use small trays. Replace ice often.

      Be aware of the "danger zone" between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit where harmful bacteria grows. Play it safe and refrigerate food within two hours.

      Protect all "to-gos." Discard foods that have been on the buffet more than two hours. Divide leftovers into smaller portions, place in shallow containers, and refrigerate.

      Intercept mix-ups. Separate raw meats from read-to-eat foods, like veggies. Provide serving utensils and small plates to discourage eating directly from bowls with dips and salsa.

      If you see "double-dippers" (folks who repeatedly eat or dip from a shared food dish), throw the penalty flag before someone is down on the field.

      For more information, visit, and

      Updated January 2015

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