Tag Archive | Food Safety

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, safe temperatures for cooking wingswhere 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.

Food Safety

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

Food Safety for the Fourth of July

Posted at 10 a.m.
Food Safety for the Fourth of July

Fourth of July is a great time to fire up the grill, but did you know the summer months typically see a spike in foodborne illness? Make sure the fun in the sun doesn’t get spoiled by food poisoning.

Here are some simple steps to grilling food safely from the county’s Health Department.

  • Keep cold food cold. Meat and poultry should be refrigerated until ready to use. When using a cooler, keep it out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter and avoid opening the lid too often.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure that food reaches a safe internal temperature. Cook chicken to 165F and ground beef to 160F. You cannot judge “done” by how the food looks.
  • Keep hot food hot. After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served (at 140°F or warmer.) Use a meat thermometer to check temperatures.
  • Completely thaw meat and poultry before grilling so it cooks more evenly. Use the refrigerator for slow, safe thawing or thaw sealed packages in cold water. For quicker thawing, you can defrost in the microwave if the food will be placed immediately on the grill.
  • Marinate food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Do not use the marinade for the raw food as the sauce for the cooked food. Keep a fresh portion aside for the sauce.
  • Don’t use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Harmful bacteria present in raw meat and their juices can contaminate safely cooked food.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers promptly in shallow containers. Discard any food left out more than 2 hours (1 hour if temperatures are above 90 °F).

For more information on summer food safety visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/hd/food or www.foodsafety.gov.

Fairfax Alerts

Food Safety for the Big Game

Posted at 2:30 p.m.

any of us will gather around the television on Sunday to watch the big game. And more than likely we’ll have lots of food and beverages to enjoy the action between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.

But there are several things you need to remember to ensure that you, your family and any friends you’ve invited over for a game party stay safe with any food that you’re serving.

If you’re having chicken wings — a football fan’s favorite — take a temperature of your wings and place them on a clean plate covered in paper toweling. Use a clean food thermometer to check the internal temperature; for food safety the temp should be 165°F. You should measure several wings before you finish cooking each batch. Another option, of course, is just buy a platter of wings from your favorite restaurant.

For this weekend’s game, or any time you’re in the kitchen, remember these four simple steps: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.

food safety for the big game

Most importantly, make sure to keep hot food hot and cold food cold.

  • Hot foods must have a heat source to keep them at or warmer than 140°F.
  • Cold foods should be kept on ice to remain at a safe temperature at or below 40°F.
  • Perishable foods left out longer than two hours should be discarded and replenished with fresh servings.

For more on food safety — and what it means to clean, separate, cook and chill — watch this video with Ron Campbell from the Health Department.

Other Tips:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds to avoid spreading bacteria to your towels.
  • Never reuse paper towels. This product is for single use only. When used multiple times, bacteria can find their way onto the towel and hitch a ride around the kitchen.
  • Kitchen towels build up bacteria after multiple uses. To keep the bacteria from getting the upper hand, you should wash your kitchen towels frequently in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

Enjoy the game and the food — and stay safe!