Cooking for the Super Bowl? Follow the USDA's tips to avoid illness

This Sunday's Super Bowl game between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos will likely be the most highly watched broadcasts of the year. Aside from football, the second main attraction at the majority of Super Bowl parties is food. If you're planning on cooking before the big game, check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture's guidelines on avoiding foodborne illness.

Here are four ways to "avoid a food safety penalty," according to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

  • Keep an eye on the clock. "To escape a delay of game, use effective clock management with your food," the USDA advised. Don't keep perishable foods at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Temperature is key. Keep food out of the "Danger Zone" — the range between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. "Avoid a holding call by keeping hot food hot and cold food cold," according the USDA.
  • Invest in a food thermometer. "Avoid a false start by using a food thermometer to ensure that meat and poultry are cooked to a safe internal temperature," said the USDA.  A food thermometer is a much more effective way to ensure meat and poultry is cooked thoroughly than checking its color or texture.
  • Wash your hands. "Prevent an illegal use of the hands by making sure to thoroughly wash your hands before starting to prepare food, after handling any raw meat or poultry or trash and after finishing cooking." Use soap and hot water, and wash for at least 20 seconds.

More articles on clinical quality and infection control:
ACIP updates vaccine schedule for HPV, pneumococcal disease and meningitis
Azithromycin may help prevent infections after C-sections, research suggests
5 things to know about Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the ICU 

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