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Tips for avoiding food poisoning at Super Bowl parties

Pennsylvania – The National Retail Federation predicts American will spend about $15 billion on Super Bowl stuff this year, including a lot of food. They estimate we’ll eat about 1.5 billion chicken wings served at parties in 43 million homes across the nation. However, some of those parties will lead to people getting sick… and not just sick over their favorite team not winning the game.

Since you could be celebrating for 4 to 6 hours, it’s more difficult to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold to guard against food poisoning.

If you’re hosting a party, bring out small amounts of food at a time. Use slowcookers or chafing dishes to keep food hot.

Janell Goodwin with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Meat and Poultry Hotline has some tips.

Washington (USDA) – The long-awaited game of the year is here and whether or not your team will vie for the Lombardi Trophy, one thing holds true – there will be lots of cheers, some tears and a whole lot of food. While enjoying some of the 1 billion chicken wings consumed on Super Bowl Sunday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) wants to remind fans not to let foodborne illness sideline them once the game is over.

“Millions of people get sick from food poisoning each year, with 128,000 being hospitalized,” said Acting FSIS Administrator Paul Kiecker. “Super Bowl parties present more opportunities for food poisoning because of large crowds and the length of the game. By following a few simple tips, you can keep your family and friends safe.”

Follow USDA’s winning plays to combat foodborne illness at your Super Bowl party.

Clean Play
Wash your hands, but not those wings. According to the National Chicken Council, more than 1.5 billion chicken wings will be consumed this Super Bowl, but washing those wings is not recommended because bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can splash and spread to other foods, utensils and surfaces, contaminating them. Be sure to wash your hands with warm water and soap before cooking, but keep the wings dry.

Play Defense
Don’t cross contaminate. When you are shopping at the grocery store keep raw meat, poultry, eggs and seafood in separate plastic bags to prevent their juices from dripping onto other foods. Always remember to use a separate cutting board for fresh fruits and vegetables and for raw meats.

Intercept Bacteria
Raw meat, poultry, seafood and egg products need to be cooked to the right internal temperature. Use a food thermometer to ensure foods have reached the correct temperature to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present. Chicken wings are safe to eat when they have reached an internal temperature of 165°F. Before indulging, take the temperature of multiple wings in the thickest part of the wing being careful to avoid the bone.

Cool Play
Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Keep food hot (at 140°F or above) in a slow cooker or chafing dish, or keep half of the food on the table and the other in the oven and replacing what’s on the table with fresh items every hour. Keep cold foods cold (at 40°F or below) by placing salads, dips and salsa in a tray of ice. When setting food out, be sure to serve cold foods in small portions.

Avoid the Danger Zone
Don’t leave food sitting out. Most bacteria grow rapidly at temperature between 40°F and 140°F. That temperature range is known as the “Danger Zone”. Refrigerate food promptly. Do not leave food at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

Need more food safety information? Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at (1-888-674-6854) Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, or email or chat at Ask.USDA.gov.