Football season is officially upon us and for many fans across the United States; this can only mean one thing, the coveted pre-game tailgate party. Tailgating is a football tradition and literally means serving food and drink from the tailgate of a car or truck.
The tailgate party is a time for great food, ice cold drinks, and good friends, so it can be fairly easy to forget the raw meat that has been sitting out in the sun for the past two hours or that you have consumed too many alcoholic beverages. Our tips below will help ensure that this football season you have the perfect game plan against food-borne illnesses and that you drink responsibly.
Food Safety Defense
- Bring towels or disposable clothes, water, and anti-bacterial spray for cleaning hands and surfaces. Over 50% of all food-borne illness is caused by unclean hands.
- Marinate all meat in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables before you head out to tailgate.
- Ensure all raw meat, poultry, or fish, is wrapped and securely stored in a separate insulated cooler to prevent leaking or contamination.
- Keep coolers out of the sun.
- Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and fish to ensure that the food has reached a safe minimum to eat. We have provided the minimum temperatures, Meat-160°F, Poultry-165°F, Seafood-145°F.
- Avoid cross-contamination when removing food from the grill. Do not use the safe platter that held the raw meat, poultry, or fish.
- Consume all hot take-out food with 2 hours of purchase, or 1 hour if the temperature is above 90°F.
- Serve cold foods below 40 degrees by filling a large bowl with ice, and then place the food in small bowl, then placing the smaller bowl inside the larger bowl. Throw away any perishable foods that are left from your pre-game tailgate.
Alcohol Safety Defense
- Remember whether you are drinking alcohol or not, drink lots of water! Alcohol causes dehydration and coupled with the sun can have dire consequences.
- Designate responsible drivers ahead of time. If the designated driver ends up drinking any alcohol, arrange for alternative transportation.
- Remember closed containers of alcohol can be placed anywhere in the vehicle as long as minors are not on board. If the alcohol container is open, it’s seal is broken, or minors are on board then the alcoholic containers should be placed in a locked trunk, locked glove box, or behind the last upright seat if no trunk is available and out of reach of passengers.
Food and alcohol safety issues can be the ultimate game changer, if proper safety practices are not followed. By following these simple tips, you will ensure that your friends and family have the perfect defense against food and alcohol safety issues. As you enjoy the football season, please remember to have a great time and be responsible.
OH and Hook Em’ Horns!