We totally get it: Pre-game
festivities can be just as fun as the game itself. But don’t let the food and
excitement before the game cause you to fumble.
Food that will
be transported and eaten outside needs special care to help avoid food-borne
Follow these tips for tailgating food safety:

  • Prevent
    cross-contamination. Pack three coolers – one for raw meat, one for potato
    salad and veggies, etc., and the third for drinks. If you only have two
    coolers, always store raw meat separately. Place the food at the bottom of
    each cooler and layer the ice on top of it.
  • Don’t
    prepare food when you are feeling under the weather. Stay home and rest
  • Be
    sure food is cooked to the proper temperature. Bring a food thermometer to
    the game to be sure you don’t serve fellow fans undercooked meat. Ground
    meats should be cooked to 155°F. Whole or ground poultry should be cooked
    to 165°F. Fresh whole pork, beef or veal should be cooked to 145°F.
  • Do
    not reuse marinade from raw meat or poultry on cooked meat.
  • Wash
    your hands before food prep and during serving, especially any time you
    switch between handling meat and produce, for example. If you don’t have
    access to water, bring hand sanitizer or antibacterial wet wipes to the
    game. Use them after putting raw meat on the grill and before eating.
  • Bring
    two sets of utensils – one for raw foods, one for cooked foods. Also be
    sure not to put cooked meat on the same plate that held the raw meat.
  • Store
    utensils or dishes that have touched raw meat in a separate plastic bag to
    prevent spreading germs in a cooler or in your car.
  • Wait
    to remove sides and condiments from your cooler until it’s time to eat.
  • At
    all times, keep hot food hot (above 140°F) and cold food cold (below 40°F).
  • Don’t
    leave food out longer than two hours. Any longer and bacteria that can
    make you sick can start to grow.
  • Before
    entering the game, throw away perishable tailgate items. Only keep
    non-perishable foods unless other food packed in the cooler has remained
    at 40°F or below. A refrigerator thermometer in the cooler is a good idea.