The big game is this weekend and it won't matter to you if the Falcons or Patriots won if you spend Monday in the fetal positon suffering from food poisoning and cursing a bad batch of wings at the party.  

According to the USDA, it is vital to keep foods out of the “Danger Zone,” which is the temperature range between 40 °F and 140 °F.

When foods are left in the “Danger Zone,” bacteria can multiply rapidly, causing a single bacterium to multiply to 17 million in 12 hours.  This can happen by serving things like chicken wings and pizza at room temperature for the entire game.

To keep yourself out of trouble, follow these tips:

  • If warm takeout foods are to be served immediately, keep them at 140 °F or above by placing in chafing dishes, preheated warming trays or slow cookers.
  • If take-out foods will not be served immediately, either keep them warm in a preheated oven, or divide the food into smaller portions or pieces, place in shallow containers, and refrigerate.  At serving time, reheat to 165 °F.
  • Cold foods that are served should be kept at 40 °F or below, which can be done by nesting serving dishes in bowls of ice.  Avoid storing food outside, where the sun can quickly warm foods in plastic storage containers and animals can get into.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure foods being served to guests are not in the “Danger Zone.”  It may seem like overkill, but anyone who has suffered a foodborne illness will be extremely grateful.
Enjoy the game and, in honor of Tom Brady, make sure not to fully inflate any balloons.