Touchdown with Tailgating

Football, Food and Fun!

The great American pastime is about to begin, and on the Bluff, we know how to do it.

While you're cheering for the Jaguars, make a touchdown for food safety.

Follow these tips when preparing your tailgate feast:

  • Wash hands before, during and after preparing food.
  • Be sure to pack moist towelettes for guests to clean up before digging in.
  • Always defrost meats in the refrigerator or in the microwave, never at the tailgate.
  • Marinate meat in the refrigerator. Do not reuse the marinade unless it has been boiled.
  • Pack foods that are already cold or frozen. Your cooler may not cool foods adequately if packed at room temperature.
  • Pack food in a well-insulated cooler with plenty of ice or icepacks to keep temperatures below 40oF.
  • Keep a refrigerator thermometer inside the cooler at all times to monitor the temperature.
  • For the trip to the tailgate site, tightly seal raw or thawed meat in plastic wrap to prevent juices from contaminating other food items. Consider packing raw meat products in one cooler and additional food in another.
  • Keep raw meats and cooked foods separate.
  • Pack extra or color-coded plates or utensils to help prevent cross-contamination. Use one set for raw foods and another for cooked foods.
  • Cook all food to the proper temperatures. Tailgating favorites like hamburgers and bratwurst should be cooked to 160oF and chicken breasts to 170oF. A meat thermometer is the only reliable way to ensure foods are safe to eat.
  • Return perishable foods to the cooler immediately after serving.
  • Do not forget that carry-out or prepared foods are also susceptible to food poisoning.
  • Throw away perishable tailgate items before entering the game.
  • Foods should not be left unrefrigerated for more than two hours. In hot weather where the temperature exceeds 90oF, food should not be left out for more than one hour.
  • In cool-weather climates, transport coolers in your trunk rather than in a heated car; the cold temperature outside will help keep food chilled. For warmer climates, do the opposite. Transport coolers in the back seat of your air-conditioned car instead of the hot trunk, especially for long road trips.
  • After the game, serve and eat only non-perishable foods unless foods packed in the cooler remain stored at 40oF or below.


This is information is brought to you as a service of the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center. For more information please contact De'Shoin A. York, Nutrition Specialist, at 225-771-2242.

Reference: The American Dietetic Association

9/10/2009 9:34:41 PM
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