EXTENSION CONNECTION: Keeping food safe (potluck party tips)

Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 02:37 PM.

Claudia Peñuela and Amarat  Simonne of the University of Florida have identified tips for those wonderful potluck parties you will be invited to this holiday season.

While it’s wonderful to be able to share favorite recipes with friends and to eat a variety of foods without much cost, potluck meals are also associated with an increased risk of foodborne illness.

Why is this?

First, the people who prepare meals for potluck parties are not trained food service professionals and may lack food safety knowledge.

Second, because of the wide variety of foods served at potluck parties, it can be difficult to keep all the different dishes at a safe temperature. Many types of food, such as dishes prepared with meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products, cooked rice and vegetables, need temperature control.

Such foods should never be kept in the temperature danger zone — 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit — for more than two hours; one hour, if in extreme heat, like a 90 degree Fahrenheit day.

To decrease your risk of foodborne illness, follow the “two-hour rule” and refrigerate all such prepared foods within two hours of purchasing or cooking.

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