AH, THE REFRESHMENTS TABLE. It can be found at almost every Christmas, New Year’s, and Super Bowl celebration, offering a variety of hors d’oeuvres, dips, drinks, and desserts. Unfortunately, it can also contain harmful bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, 48 million Americans get sick from food-borne illnesses every year—many cases of which are the result of improper food preparation and storage.
In an effort to keep your guests safe, Thomas Sahr, Division Director of Nutrition Services at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital, offers the following dos and don’ts when it comes to party food.
DO: KEEP CLEAN
Washing your hands is the most important way to prevent food-borne illnesses, Sahr says. Utensils, platters, and cutting boards should also be frequently replaced and cleaned throughout the evening.
DON’T: LEAVE FOOD OUT
Chips and crackers are not a concern, but foods with ingredients that promote pathogen growth—such as dips, cheeses, and meats—should not sit in temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours at a time. To ensure your food remains at a safe temperature, consider
keeping it in the refrigerator and serving it in small batches. This includes fruits and vegetables, Sahr says. Although they are relatively stable in their whole state, once they have been cut or sliced, you should follow the two-hour rule.
DO: PLAY IT SAFE
“When in doubt, throw it out,” Sahr says. “The risk just isn’t worth it.”
FOOD SAFETY ADVICE THAT WILL KEEP THE PARTY GOING.
For more information about health and nutrition, visit sacredhearteauclaire.org.