INDIANAPOLIS---Super Bowl Sunday is a time to enjoy great food and entertainment with your family and friends. State health officials are offering food safety tips for football fans to use while preparing meals and snacks.
"There are some basic steps you can take to keep you and your guests safe from foodborne illness," said Scott Gilliam, director of Food Protection at the Indiana State Department of Health. "We want Hoosiers to fully enjoy watching the Indianapolis Colts play in Super Bowl XLIV."
Gilliam says large meals and a probable volume of leftovers mean consumers should do some advance preparation to get the kitchen "food safe" for the festivities. He recommends the following:
· Always wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
· If you are feeling ill, please do not handle food. This is a common mode of transmitting illness-producing germs. Let others who are not ill do the food preparation.
· Have plenty of paper towels or clean cloth towels on hand for cleaning of surfaces, drying hands, and for blotting dry fresh fruits and vegetables after rinsing. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washer.
· Make sure you have shallow storage containers with lids on hand for safely storing leftovers within two hours of dinner.
· If guests offer to contribute a dish to the festivities, ask them to bring items that don't require refrigeration, such as chips, bread, beverages or cookies and cakes without cream or egg fillings.
· Plan to have a cooler on hand full of ice where you can keep beverages, freeing up refrigerator space and helping to avoid having guests going in and out of the refrigerator during meal preparation.
Consumers can "Ask Karen," the Food Safety and Inspection Service virtual representative available 24 hours a day, at AskKaren.gov. In addition, the public can call the U.S. Department of Agriculture's meat and poultry hotline for advice at 1-888-674-6854. The hotline operates Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET.
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