tailgatersSusan Krumm, a writer for the Journal-World of Lawrence, Kansas, pointed food safety tips for tailgating in a recent article.  Some of her recommendations for keeping food safe entail:

Washing your hands before and after handling food is critical. Water may not be readily available, but tailgaters can either bring a jug of water, soap and towels, or brush off surface dirt and use pre-packaged towelettes or hand sanitizer.

To avoid cross-contamination, use separate coolers or ice chests for beverages, ready-to-eat foods and raw foods that will be cooked.

On a hot day, the temperature inside a cooler typically rises each time a cooler is opened. Since beverage coolers are usually opened most frequently, separating the beverages helps maintain the quality of other party foods.

It’s also important to fill the cooler or ice chest half-full of ice. Block ice will melt more slowly than cubes, and cubes will melt more slowly than crushed ice.

Tailgaters are opting for portable gas grills and appliances that plug into car batteries or generators, but it is still critical to test doneness of cooked foods with a food thermometer. Not all ground beef browns at the same time or temperature. That me ans if a hamburger is brown, it still may not have reached a safe-to-eat temperature of 160 degrees. Bratwurst should also be cooked to 160 degrees. USDA recommendations for cooking all poultry products, such as chicken breasts, thighs or wings, were adju sted earlier this year to 165 degrees. Heat hot dogs to steaming.