Donít Get Penalized: Practice Food Safety While Tailgating

By Jolyn Johnston-Myers
October 14, 2016

Every American knows fall means football season! And whether it’s high school, college or professional football – fans love to tailgate before the game. However, tailgaters often put themselves at risk for foodborne illness.

Washing hands with soap and warm water for 20-seconds before and after handling food is the first line of defense against foodborne illness. If soap and water isn’t an option, you can use disposable hand wipes or hand sanitizer.

When it comes to food, Kansas State University food scientist Karen Blakeslee says to focus on keeping everything out of the danger zone.

“Thetemperature danger zone is between 40 and 140-degrees,” Blakeslee said. “If you’re serving foods, it’s a good idea to keep your hot foods hot, cold foods cold – above 140-degrees for your hot foods, below 40-degrees for your cold foods.”

Blakeslee says tailgaters have some options for keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold…

“A lot of people keep things hot on a grill,” she said. “There are even plugins for your car, if you want to plug in a crock pot.

“For the cold side,” she added. “Keep things in the ice chest…use lots of ice…and keep your meats in a separate cooler…keep the beverages in a separate cooler because that’s the one that gets opened and closed a lot.”

Other food safety tips include putting foods off the grill on a clean plate; bringing several long handle spoons and tongs to minimize possible contamination by bare hand contact with food; and using disposable plates, cups and silverware to minimize cleanup and the risk of cross contamination.