Food Safety for Your Home Party

Food Safety - Have a famous party, not an infamous one…

Wow – turns out Mom was right about germs. Foodborne illness, (we used to call it food poisoning,) is nasty stuff. Most of it comes from not handling food properly.

The last thing you want is for someone to get sick from your party food. Not cool...

A digital, chef's thermometer properly placed into baked potatoes

Rage against the germs!
It’s all about keeping them under control.

Five Steps Toward Safe Party Food

  • First: WASH YOUR HANDS. Sounds too easy, but food safety begins with us and the germs we bring – often more on us than what the products had to begin with. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap, and then rinse, especially after using the toilet, handling trash, sneezing, or when you come back to the kitchen after doing other tasks. Keep washing your hands before you handle food. If you smoke, you should wash twice as often.

  • Second: “Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.” Start using a good piercing (“chef’s”) thermometer, because you need a thermometer to know what the temperature is. The Temperature Danger Zone, (41° - 140°) is where bacteria grow best. Control their growth by keeping cold products under 41°, which is what refrigerators are set to, and, keep hot products hot by cooking them to their correct temperature and then holding them above 140° . The Four Hour Rule – never serve meats, fish, poultry, dairy, melons, etc. when they have been sitting out (in the Danger Zone,) for over 4 hours. Use food warmers and chafing dishes to keep cooked products at the proper temperatures.

  • Third: So much of food safety is cooking foods to the proper temperature. Party Recipes and Ideas will give you the correct temperatures as you follow our recipes. Use your thermometer and make sure “it’s done.” When reheating food after it has been cooked and cooled, the temperature needs to get to 165° .

    0° == Correct Freezer Setting

    40° = Correct Refrigerator Setting

    41° - 140° == Temp Danger Zone

    145° == Fish, Shellfish, Lamb, and Beef are cooked

    160° == Pork and Ground Beef are cooked

    165° == All Poultry is cooked.
    All Reheated Food too.

    212° == Water Boils

    How to use? Remove food from heat. Push the stem deeply into the food, careful not to pierce through or push into a bone. Wait for a reading, remove and wash the stem.

  • Fourth: Separate foods. Keep edibles and the utensils, cutting boards and gear used to prepare them out of contact with each other. Example: After cutting chicken, wash and sanitize the knive and cutting board you used before preparing salad. Use this logic with all food preparation, especially with meats, fish, poultry, dairy and melons. Store chemicals away from food.

  • Fifth: Sanitize. Using very hot water is one way (like in the hot rinse cycle of a dishwasher,) or pouring boiling water over utensils and gear. “Sanitizers” are also available in chemical form spray bottles, sold at grocery stores. We use lots of sanitizer after every clean up, on kitchen counters, preparation areas, knives, cutting boards – you name it.

    Can’t be too clean. Mama would be proud.

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