Tailgating Food Safety Tips


safe food is fun food!

Supply checklist – disposable plates, cups and flatware, liquid soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer, disposable resealable containers and bags, bottled water, plenty of ice, properly handled food and beverages, calibrated thermometer

Cooking food temperature guide – beef & lamb (medium rare) – 145°; ground beef pork, lamb or veal, and pork chops or ribs – 160°; turkey or chicken – 165°

Hand washing – Wash your hands throughout your tailgating event. This is the most important step in preventing foodborne illness. Remember to wash before handling food, after handling raw or uncooked meats and after handling garbage.

Temperature danger zone – It is a simple procedure that is imperative for food safety: Keep foods out of the danger zone (40°– 140°). This is the temperature in which microorganisms grow rapidly and can cause foodborne illness. More simply put, keep cold foods cold (below 40°) and keep hot foods hot (above 140°).

Packing for your event – Place food directly from refrigerator to coolers; pack beverages in a separate cooler so food cooler is opened less and food stays colder. Pack perishable foods in small containers, defrost under refrigeration or on ice, discard any extra used marinades that have been in contact with raw meat. If you must use one cooler – pack raw meats at the bottom of cooler so meat juice doesn’t run into other foods.

Grilling / serving at your tailgate party – Follow the meat temperature guide to ensure safety. Do not let food sit out after cooking – food should be consumed within 2 hours after cooking (or 1 hour if the outside temperature is above 90°). Use clean serving plates.