Food Safety Tips for Tailgating

The days get cooler, the leaves start to change, fall and football season are just kicking off. If you’re planning to tailgate this football season, plan ahead to keep free from food-born illness.

tailgating at a game

Dietitian Marisa Moore says, “Tailgating can be a lot of fun but I think the most important thing you have to do is remember that a good offense is the best defense when it comes to protecting the food that you’re gonna bring with you.” Keep in mind that 1 in 6 people get sick from some sort of foodborne illness every single year, most from cross-contamination. It can be hard to keep this from happening in a sanitary kitchen, making it even more important to keep cross-contamination from happening while tailgating.

The most common mistake is the plate. “That is, they take a plate that maybe had some raw meat and they add the cooked stuff back to it. And that’s a big no no, because that’s one way to transfer bacteria,” says Moore.

Another, not using one very important device. Marisa Moore says,”A meat thermometer- or a food thermometer- is the best way and really the only way to make sure that your meat has reached a safe internal temperature.” When tailgating with friends and a few beers, the designated chef can be distracting while cooking, a meat thermometer will take the guesswork out of cooking outside.

And lastly, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Remember the two-hour rule: You don’t want to leave anything out for more than 2 hours, and, if you do, you need to toss it out. If it’s over 90 degrees, make that one hour.

Happy football season!