In today’s busy world, take-out and delivered foods are experiencing runaway popularity. And, with Super Bowl Sunday just around the corner, safe handling of foods can be critical!

Some foods are hot and some are cold when purchased. Foods from fast food restaurants are most often consumed immediately. Take-out foods may be purchased in advance for eating at a later time, such as when the Super Bowl Party begins.

More and more people are relying on others to prepare their food. Perishable foods can cause illness when mishandled. Proper handling of the food and the leftovers is essential to ensure the food is safe to eat later.

To keep hot foods safe, keep them at 140 degrees or above. Cold foods must be kept at 40 degrees or below. Bacteria grow rapidly between 40 and 140 degrees. Discard all perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, eggs, and casseroles, left at room temperature for more than two hours; one hour in air temperatures above 90 degrees.

Hot Take-Out or Delivered Foods

Once food is cooked, it should be held hot, at an internal temperature of 140 degrees or above. Just keeping food warm (between 40 and 140 degrees) is not safe. Use a food thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the food. A preheated oven, chafing dishes, preheated warming trays, or slow cookers may be used.

If you plan to eat at a later, time, take-out or delivered food should be divided into smaller portions or pieces, placed in shallow containers, and refrigerated.

Cold/Refrigerated Take-Out or Delivered Food

Cold foods should be kept at 40 degrees or below.

Refrigerate perishable foods as soon as possible, always within two hours after purchase or delivery. If the food is in air temperatures above 90 degrees, refrigerate within one hour.

Keep foods cold on the buffet table by nesting serving dishes of food in bowls of ice. Use small platters and replace them with fresh refrigerated of food often, rather than adding fresh food to a serving dish already on the table.

Leftovers

Discard all perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, eggs, and casseroles, left at room temperature longer than two hours; one hour in air temperatures above 90 degrees. This includes leftovers taken home from a restaurant. Some exceptions to this rule are foods such as cookies, crackers, bread, and whole fruits.

Whole roasts, hams, and turkeys should be sliced or cut into smaller pieces or portions before storing them in the refrigerator or freezer. Turkey legs, wings, and thighs may be left whole.

Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in shallow containers. Wrap or cover the food.

Refrigerator Storage at 40 degrees or Below

Foods stored too long in the refrigerator may begin to spoil or become unsafe to eat. Do not taste! Length of time for storage is as follows:

• cooked meat or poultry – 3 to 4 days

• pizza – 3 to 4 days

• luncheon meats – 3 to 5 days

• egg, tuna, and macaroni salads – 3 to 5 days

Foods kept in the freezer (at 0 degrees or below) longer than recommended are safe, but may be drier and not taste as good. Length of time for storage is as follows:

• cooked meat or poultry – 2 to 6 months

• pizza – 1 to 2 months

• luncheon meats – 1 to 2 months

• salads made with mayonnaise do not freeze well

WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!

With a few food safety rules, you, your friends and your family will be safe to enjoy all of the game on Super Bowl Sunday!