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USDA Issues Guidance on Preventing Foodborne Illness on Super Bowl Sunday

 Posted on February 04, 2022 in Food Poisoning

illinois foodborne illness attorneyOn Sunday, February 13, 2022, the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams will square off in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. According to estimates, some 13 million Americans will gather in homes and establishments around the country to watch the game, and it just simply is not a Super Bowl party without food. Super Bowl Sunday has become a uniquely American experience—and a tradition—over the last half-century, but it is also a potential source for foodborne illness. With this in mind, the United States Department of Agriculture has issued a press release that offers food safety tips for keeping your Super Bowl celebration from taking a turn for the worst.

The Dangers of Day-Long Food Parties

Other holidays with food-related traditions are fairly likely to be centered around mealtimes, such as Thanksgiving dinner. Most of the food involved is only left out for a relatively short amount of time. On Super Bowl Sunday, however, the food table is often set up a few hours before the game, and fans continue to graze and snack for as long as the game lasts. This means that food might be left sitting out for as many as six or eight hours.

Perishable foods, including cut fruits and vegetables, deli wraps, and chicken wings, can only be left at room temperature for a maximum of two hours before the risk of bacteria increases to unacceptably dangerous levels.

Replenish Throughout the Party and Other Useful Tips

According to the USDA’s guidance, one of the best things you can do to promote food safety and prevent food poisoning is to start with smaller amounts of food. Resist the temptation to put everything out at once just because it is easier. Start smaller with both hot and cold foods, and then replenish the food table as needed—keeping the two-hour maximum in mind.

In addition to this fairly simple action plan, the USDA also encourages party hosts to follow other basic rules of food safety, which include:

  • Regular hand-washing and cleaning of food preparation surfaces. Use soap and warm water to wash your hands and a sanitizing solution after cleaning food prep surfaces.

  • Preventing cross-contamination. Be sure to use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat or poultry and ready-to-eat foods.

  • Cooking food to safe internal temperatures. The specific temperature depends on the type of food being cooked, but safe temps range from 145 to 165 F.

  • Keeping food out of the “Danger Zone,” which is between 40 and 140 F. Cold foods should be kept on ice or refrigerated for as long as possible, and hot foods should be kept in chafing dishes, warming trays, or slow cookers.

  • Dividing leftovers safely. Leftover food should be divided into smaller portions and shallow containers. This allows the food to cool more quickly and avoid the Danger Zone. 

Contact a Chicago Foodborne Illness Lawyer

If you or a member of your family contracts a foodborne illness, an experienced Illinois food poisoning lawyer can help you determine your best course of action. At Newland & Newland, LLP, we have decades of experience handling food poisoning cases, and we will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. Call 312-981-0409 for a free consultation today.


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