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Play it safe

August 11, 2009

SERIOUS FANS know half the fun of being at a football game begins way before the coin toss as tailgating has become a sport unto itself.

The internet is packed with places tailgaters can find supplies for a winning tailgate that will have fans begging for some overtime and offers the following food safety tips:

Because tailgate parties are usually all-day food fests and grilling extravaganzas, they're also a time of increased risk of food poisoning. Before you pack your cooler and head off to the game, remember these simple food safety tips.

Keep hot food hot and keep cold food cold.

Pack food in a well-insulated cooler with plenty of ice or icepacks to keep temperature below 40 degrees.

Take foods in the smallest quantity needed-pack only the amount of food you think you'll use.

Consider taking along non-perishable foods and snacks that don't need to be refrigerated.

Keep raw foods separate from already prepared foods.

Transport the cooler in the back seat of your air-conditioned car instead of in your hot trunk and keep your cooler closed tight.

Bring moist towelettes or soap and water to clean your hands and surfaces often.

Remove from the cooler only the amount of raw meat, fish or poultry that will fit on the grill at one time.

Cook your favorite foods to the right temperature by using a meat thermometer; hamburger to at least 160 degrees and chicken breasts to 170 degrees.

Don't let food sit out for more than two hours. On a hot day (90 degrees or higher), reduce this time to one hour.

When the tailgate is over, discard all perishable foods if there is no longer sufficient ice in the cooler or if gel packs are no longer frozen.

Also, if you're a season-ticket holder and tailgate almost every weekend, keep your supplies all in once place, packed, and ready to load up for the next week.



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