While the focus during Super Bowl weekend will be on football, it’s also a prime opportunity for foodborne illnesses to spread.
“As families and friends safely gather to watch the big game, keep food safety in mind. No matter who you’re rooting for, foodborne illness is a dangerous opponent we face during the game,” United State Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.
Unlike other food-centric celebrations, where food is usually consumed within an hour, Super Bowl-related dishes and snacks generally sit out longer than intended, leading to high levels of bacteria forming.
The USDA shared some tips on how Americans can avoid any food-related illnesses heading into the weekend.
Anyone handling food preparation for the big game should:
- Wash their hands for 20 seconds before and after handling raw poultry. Utensils and kitchen surfaces should be cleaned thoroughly if used to handle raw poultry as well.
- Separate utensils and other food preparation tools should be used when preparing multiple dishes.
- A food thermometer should be used to make sure food is cooked thoroughly.
- Dishes should be chilled if they won’t be consumed immediately. No food should be left at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Takeout food ordered before the game should also be chilled if it won’t be immediately eaten upon delivery.