GA. ag commissioner offers Superbowl food safety tips

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Georgia Ag Commissioner Gary Black wants to make sure those watching the 45th annual Superbowl are safe when preparing food this year. Commissioner Black says this is the second highest day of food consumption in the nation, the first being Thanksgiving Day.

"Everyone loves a good Superbowl party," said the Commissioner in a news release. "But whether you're hosting or attending, you want to make sure no one ends up making any 'personal fouls' when it comes to food safety."

To help partygoers and hosts avoid the "injured reserved list", he has some to tips to keep in mind as you prepare your food:

  • Clean: Avoid any "illegal use of hands" penalties. In the game of food safety, this penalty occurs if people prepare or handle food without washing their hands first. Food preparers should wash with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food – and don't forget to wash food preparation surfaces often.
  • Separate: Penalty flags could end up flying across your kitchen for "encroachment" if you cut raw veggies on the same cutting board as raw meats. Raw meat may contain harmful bacteria that can contaminate other foods. Use separate cutting boards or, if you're only using one board, wash it with hot soapy water in between prepping different food items. The same is true for dishes; don't use the same platter for bringing meat IN from the grill that you used to carry it OUT to the grill (unless you wash it between uses).
  • Cook: A food thermometer is your best piece of protective equipment. Use it to ensure foods are thoroughly cooked to proper temperatures; high enough to kill harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7. All poultry products should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees; all pork to 160 degrees; beef, veal, and lamb steaks, roasts or chops to 145 degrees; and ground beef, veal or lamb to 160 degrees.
  • Two-Hour Rule: Football players have their "two-minute warning" out on the field. In food safety, there is a "two-hour rule."  One of the biggest food safety mistakes a person can make is to allow perishable items to sit out for too long. Please remember that even in colder weather, this rule still applies!

Commissioner Black is reminding people who put food out early that if its left sitting out for more than two hours can begin to grow bacteria and cause illness.

He recommends keeping hot perishable items in a chafing dish or a slow cooker and cold items in a bowl of ice, cooler or refrigerator. Rotate foods throughout the Superbowl party to keep everything at proper temperature. Also, freeze or refrigerator leftovers within two hours of originally setting them out. Between 40 degrees and under 135 degrees is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Items should be thrown out that have been at room temperature for more than two hours.

If you have questions about food safey, call the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Meat and Poultry hotline at 1.888.674.6854. Another great resource is "Ask Karen,", an interactive question-and-answer feature on the USDA website.

Also check out the Georgia Department of Agriculture on Facebook for some fun Superbowl recipe ideas submitted by local residents.

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