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College of Human Ecology

Tips for Tailgaters

Friday, September 7, 2007

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Pre-game parties add fun to fall activities, but skipping critical food safety steps can put family and friends at risk, said Karen Blakeslee, Kansas State University Research and Extension food scientist.

If restrooms are in short supply, take a thermos of hot water, hand soap and paper towels; soapy washcloths in a sealed plastic bag; pre-packaged towelettes or hand sanitizer, she said.

"Washing hands before and after handling raw or cooked foods is key to preventing foodborne illness," said Blakeslee, who offered the following tailgate and picnic tips:

* Match the menu to the number of guests to minimize leftovers.

* Avoid cross contamination - designate separate coolers for beverages; salads and perishables, such as vegetable dip; meats and poultry.

* Use separate utensils for raw and cooked foods, meats, and vegetables.

* Keep coolers, ice chests or food on the serving table out of direct sunlight.

* Use a food thermometer to check doneness for hamburgers (160 degrees F.), for chicken (165 degrees), for brats (170 degrees) and for hot dogs (165 degrees).

* Place leftovers in coolers prior to the game, and discard food left on a serving table (or in direct sunlight) after one hour in 90 or above temperatures or two hours in cooler weather. Discard food trash in designated areas; stow table service and utensils, and grill (according to the manufacturer´s recommended safety procedures).

For non-perishable snacks after the game, Blakeslee recommends fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, snack mix, popcorn or cookies.

More information on food and food safety is available at county and district K-State Research and Extension offices and on the Extension Web site: www.oznet.ksu.edu/foodsafety.

This article was posted on Friday, September 7, 2007, and is filed under College News, Hospitality Management.