A Super Bowl state of mind can keep your party sanitary
For sports fans, it's the definition of "the big game." For casual viewers, it's a chance to see which ads are setting the standard for comedy and creativity. But for those attending a Super Bowl party, it's a chance to tackle some indulgent treats.
Snacking is inherently part of any viewing party, but the variety of dishes and the longevity of the game can put your guests at risk of food-borne illness.
While the 49ers and Chiefs will be doing whatever they can to hoist the Lombardi Trophy Sunday night, some of their on-field maneuvers and strategies can help you avoid appearing on the injury report with "flu-like symptoms" Monday morning.
Prepare before game time
Traditionally, competitors spend two weeks anticipating the big game. You don't need to prepare your food that far ahead, but it's important that you get an early start and allow time for thorough cooking. Make sure your party preparation team is well-equipped with food thermometers to help determine whether food is properly cooked.
Check the temperature of your food often to make sure it stays hot or cold enough. According to the USDA, the danger zone for bacteria growth is between 40 and 140 degrees. Keep foods below 40 and hot foods above 140 degrees.
As players are subbing in and out of the game due to fatigue, you should do the same with platters and utensils. Keep raw and cooked products and byproducts away from one another, as well as hot and cold foods. Bacteria are killed as food is cooked but if uncooked food touches something served raw, bacteria will live there. Separate hot and cold foods to prevent temperatures from fluctuating into the danger zone.
See the trainer
The guys on the field likely will ignore any minor cuts or open wounds, but you shouldn't. Securely bandage any cuts, wear clean disposable gloves, and continue to wash your hands with warm, soapy water when preparing or handling food.
A strong defense probably will contribute to a Super Bowl-winning performance, and an effective defense against bacteria will lead to a championship-caliber party. Unclean hands are one of the leading contributors to the spreading of bacteria. Use utensils and individual plates or bowls for each guest whenever possible.
Anyone handling food, even if they are making their own plate, should properly wash their hands. If you're handling food, wash your hands before touching a new product to avoid cross-contamination.