PhotoThe Super Bowl has it all: the two (allegedly) top teams in the NFL battling for the Lombardi trophy, commercials that people actually stick around to watch and, of course, the parties with enough food to feed at least one small country.

With more than 1.3 billon chicken wings and 4 million pizzas expected to be scarfed during the game, there are plenty of opportunities for the host to do the wrong thing.

“This Super Bowl Sunday, sports fans across the U.S. will have a great time watching the game with friends and family, while sharing some of our favorite foods that we are fortunate in this country to enjoy,” said Deputy Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety Al Almanza. “A long game and a big crowd means more opportunities for food poisoning, but some easy precautions can go far in preventing illness.”

What the good host should do

To keep everyone in the game, the Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service offers the following food safety tips.

  • Use effective clock management with your food. Perishable foods should not be kept at room temperature for more than two hours. Switch out these items during half time to prevent the same foods from sitting out the whole game.
  • Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Food should remain at a safe temperature and out of the “Danger Zone” -- the temperature range between 40 °F and 140 °F where bacteria multiply rapidly.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure that meat and poultry are cooked to a safe internal temperature.
  • Raw beef, pork, lamb and veal should be cooked to 145°F with a three minute rest time.
  • Raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal should be cooked to 160 °F.
  • All cuts of poultry should reach at least 165 °F.
  • Many cooks think they can finish their cooking by checking the color and texture of meat or poultry. The only way to safely know if cooking is over and food is ready to eat is by using a food thermometer.
  • Make sure to thoroughly wash your hands before starting to prepare food, after handling any raw meat or poultry and trash, and after finishing cooking. Thoroughly wash hands by using hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds. “Splashing and dashing” doesn’t count.

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