Food Safety for The Big Game

Lisa Stokes, our Dietary & EVS Manager, is sharing her tips for having a safe but delicious game day food spread! Whether you’re making chicken wings or a whole buffet , be sure to keep Lisa’s tips in mind this weekend!

Make the right call for homemade chicken wings:

If you’re frying chicken wings, Lisa recommends making sure that your frying oil temperature is 375 °F before adding the chicken. She adds, “Before frying, pat dry the chicken wings to prevent oil splatter when submerged in hot oil. Make sure not to overcrowd the chicken wings in the frying basket. If the wings are crowded, they can be undercooked.” Lisa adds, “To take a temperature of your wings, place them on a clean plate covered in paper toweling. Use a clean food thermometer to check the internal temperature, for food safety the temp should be 165 °F. You should measure several wings before you finish cooking each batch. If the wings are below the minimum safe internal temperature of 165 °F, submerge them again in the hot oil.”

Food safe(ty) buffet:

If you’re setting your game day food out buffet-style, Lisa stresses the importance of keeping hot food hot and cold food cold. She shares, “Hot foods must have a heat source to keep them at or warmer than 140 °F. (Crock pots, hot plates). Lisa also shares that cold foods should be kept on ice to remain at a safe temperature at or below 40 °F. Perishable foods left out longer than two hours should be discarded and replenished with fresh servings. For large parties, make serval smaller plates of perishable foods to set out one plate at a time to cut down on waste.

Don’t foul your kitchen towel:

Lisa shares “When using paper towels, be sure to use only once, because when you use them multiple times, bacteria can find their way onto the paper towel and hitch a ride around your kitchen.” She also reminds you how important it is to wash your hands, noting “Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds to avoid spreading bacteria to your towels. Kitchen towels build up bacteria after multiple uses. To keep the bacteria from getting the upper hand, you should wash your kitchen towels frequently in the hot cycle of your washing machine.”

Don’t drop the ball and cross-contaminate:

To avoid cross-contamination, Lisa recommends you clean and sanitize all food preparation surfaces before and after handling foods. She adds, “Keep raw meat and poultry separate from cooked or ready-to-eat foods. Always wash any platters, cutting boards or utensils that have touched uncooked meat or poultry with hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly before using with any other food.” NSF’s Germ Study found Salmonella, E. coli, yeast and mold on common kitchen appliances such as blender gaskets, can openers and rubber spatulas because the items were not properly disassembled and then cleaned and dried before storage. She says, “I recommend setting out hand sanitize by the plates, utensils and napkins, to encourage your guest to use before serving themselves.”