How Safe is Your Family Feast?
A Few Tips for Serving Buffet-style
A popular way to celebrate holidays or any party occasion is to invite friends and family to a buffet. However, this type of food service where foods are left out for long periods can leave the door open for uninvited guests — bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Festive times for giving and sharing should not include sharing foodborne illness. Here are some tips from the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline to help you have a SAFE holiday party.
Safe Food Handling
Always wash your hands before and after handling food. Keep your kitchen, dishes and utensils clean also. Always serve food on clean plates — not those previously holding raw meat and poultry. Otherwise, bacteria which may have been present in raw meat juices can cross contaminate the food to be served.
If you are cooking foods ahead of time for your party, be sure to cook foods thoroughly to safe minimum internal temperatures.
- Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F.
- Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F.
- Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.
The Two-Hour Rule
Foods should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Keep track of how long foods have been sitting on the buffet table and discard anything there two hours or more.
Use Shallow Containers
Divide cooked foods into shallow containers to store in the refrigerator or freezer until serving. This encourages rapid, even cooling.
Reheat hot foods to 165 °F. Arrange and serve food on several small platters rather than on one large platter. Keep the rest of the food hot in the oven (set at 200-250 °F) or cold in the refrigerator until serving time. This way foods will be held at a safe temperature for a longer period of time.
Enjoy the holiday and drive safe if you are traveling!
Wishing you a Most Blessed Thanksgiving from ArkansasRiverValley.com