Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Columnists

February 2, 2013

Mitzi Bacon: Super Bowl foodies take note

AMERICUS — It’s Superbowl XLVII Sunday! One hundred eleven million views are expected to tune in around 6 p.m. today to watch the Baltimore Ravens play the San Francisco 49’ers. I think Superbowl fans can be grouped into four categories:  serious football fans, those who couldn’t care less about football and watch for the commercials (this year a 30-second spot is running around $4 million!), the halftime Beyoncé fans, and the group that just likes to hang out and socialize! One thing all four groups have in common is that I guarantee everyone will be snacking and eating!

I’d like to share some quick reminders on safe food handling, preparation and grilling. No one wants to wake up sick from a foodborne illness Monday morning! Elizabeth L. Andress and Judy A. Harrison, food safety specialists, suggest following these food safety guidelines to keep your family and friends free of foodborne illness.

• If you are planning on preparing food at home and transporting it to the party, remember that refrigerated ready to eat foods such as potato salad, coleslaw and pasta salad should be kept in a cooler with ice packs. If you are transporting raw meat to be cooked at the party, make sure it is completely sealed and separated from all other foods. Juices from the raw meat can contaminate other foods and cause illness.

• When marinating or thawing meat and poultry, place it in the refrigerator instead of on the counter.

• Wash hands with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds often, especially before and after handling raw meats.

• Wash any utensils and plates that may have come into contact with the raw meat before using with cooked foods.

• Keep raw foods away from other cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination.

• When cooking meat, always use a food thermometer to check for doneness. Hamburgers and sausage should be cooked to 160 degrees F.; poultry should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F.  throughout the product. Whole poultry is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F. as measured with a food thermometer in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

• When reheating previously cooked foods, heat to 165 degrees F.

• Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.

• Never leave foods out for more than two hours.

• Refrigerate any leftovers promptly. Make sure to divide up any large portions and place in shallow pans to further aid the cooling process.

Here’s wishing you a fun and safe Superbowl party, hope your team wins!

Mitzi Bacon is Sumter County Extension agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. Contact her at 924-4476.

 

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