TAKE OUT – Food Safety Tips

With the NFL season just around the corner, and the tail gate season upon us – here are some basic food safety tips – – that can make your life a bit more comfortable. And yea, your friends will stay your friends as well.

Now that you have picked up your food from a restaurant, here are some simple tips so that you and your friends/family enjoy safe food at your gathering.

Tip 1: MORE THAN TWO? IT’S BAD FOR YOU!

Two hours is the maximum time foods should be kept at room temperature. Just one bacterium, doubling every 20 minutes, could grow to over 2 million bacteria in seven hours! Don’t hesitate – refrigerate at 40°F or colder if you won’t be eating your take-out meal within the next two hours. Meat, poultry, fish and dairy products, pasta, rice, beans and cooked vegetables should be consumed in 2 hours or place them in refrigerator. Refrigerate salads with meat/fish/chicken/seafood, fresh-cut fruits until used.

Tip 2: HERE IS THE RULE – KEEP IT COOL.

Refrigerate hot take-out foods right away if you won’t be eating them within two hours. For large quantities, divide food into loosely covered shallow containers before refrigerating and then cover tightly when cool. If you leave your pizza and other perishable foods at room temperature for more than two hours, toss them out.

Tip 3: AVOID DELAY – EAT WITHIN A DAY.

Plan to eat take-out foods and leftovers within a day for greater safety and quality.

Tip 4: DON’T MISS A BEAT – THOROUGHLY REHEAT!

Don’t reheat take-out food in its original container in the microwave, unless the container is described as safe for microwave use. Reheat all foods to 165°F. Use a food thermometer.

Tip 5: WHEN IN DOUBT – THROW IT OUT!

You can’t see, smell, or taste bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. It takes from half an hour to two or more weeks before you get sick from contaminated food. Sometimes it’s hard to know if food has been handled safely. If you are not sure, throw it away.

Notes: When take-out or prepared food is purchased cold for an outdoor event—like a picnic, sporting event or outdoor buffet—a cooler well packed with ice or frozen gel packs is a practical alternative to a refrigerator. Keep the cooler in the shade. After food comes out of the cooler, remember the two-hour rule. Keep it at 40°F or below. Use a chafing dish, warming tray, steam table, slow cooking pot or a place on the side of the cooking grill. Keep it at 140°F or higher. 

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