Big Game Food Safety
Posted at 3 p.m.
The big football game is this weekend, pitting the New England Patriots against the Philadelphia Eagles. Whether you plan on watching the game or not, many will use the game as an “excuse” to have a party … and that means food! And many of us think of chicken wings.
Cuts of chicken used to be a novelty at the grocery store, where they were mostly sold in whole-bird form. But did you know that in 1964, the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, N.Y. decided to turn the typical soup-stock staple into a spicy finger food to feed a hungry crowd?
For a few years after they first served them, wings gained popularity in the bar scene — then came Super Bowl I, turning them into a sporting event tradition. Since that first game in 1967, when the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs, chicken wings have become a staple of football gatherings and tailgaters across many major sporting events.
A lot has changed for chicken since that fateful day in 1967. In spite of these changes to our appetite for wings — and other foods for the big game party — the four basic messages of food safety remain the same: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.
Before and after preparing, handling or eating food, always wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds. Use clean plates, dishes, and utensils to serve food, and keep surfaces clean.
Make sure raw meat and poultry do not come into contact with other food. Use separate plates and utensils for these items, and never place cooked food back on the same plate that previously held raw food.
Always use a food thermometer when cooking meat and poultry products. The thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the food and read after the manufacturer designated time.
- Cook raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops and roasts to 145 °F. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming.
- Cook raw ground beef, pork, lamb and veal to 160 °F.
- Cook raw poultry to 165 °F.
Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Hot foods must have a heat source, and cold foods should be kept on ice to remain at a safe temperature and out of the Danger Zone. The Danger Zone is the temperature range between 40 °F and 140 °F where bacteria multiply rapidly.
Leftover foods should be refrigerated promptly and not be kept at room temperature for more than two hours. Perishable foods left out longer than two hours should be discarded.
For more food safety information, visit this Health Department webpage.
* Photos courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture