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Super Bowl Food Safety

Before you tuck into wings, dips, salsa, and other finger food goodies, get to know the MVPs (most valuable practices) that will keep you and your Super Bowl fans cheering.

The Super Bowl means good friends getting together to eat good food – and cheer on their team, of course! Follow these easy tips and avoid food poisoning fouls. Serving salsa on game day? Try the recipe below and remember to keep it chilled.


Unclean hands are one of the biggest culprits for spreading germs, especially when you're eating finger foods. Remember to wash your hands before preparing food or digging into finger food, and after high fiving your friends. Proper hand washing means washing with soap and water for 20 seconds, then drying your hands with a clean towel.


Avoid cross-contamination during food preparation and when storing foods in the refrigerator by separating raw meats from ready-to-eat foods like veggies. Follow these other easy rules to score a food safety touchdown:

  • When you're serving foods like dips and salsa, offer guests serving spoons and small plates to discourage them from eating directly from the bowls.
  • When digging into finger foods, it's a good idea for everyone to make their own plate of food and spoon salsa and other dips on the plate instead of dipping into the same bowl.
  • Remember not to double dip from the bowl!


When cooking foods, use a food thermometer to make sure hot dishes (including cheese dips) get to a safe internal temperature. Chicken wings and cheese dips should reach an internal temperature of 165° F. Cooking foods thoroughly kills most germs that might exist.

Remember the two-hour rule: Much like football's two-minute warning, food safety has the two-hour rule. If some foods stay at room temperature for more than two hours, they enter the "danger zone" between 40°F and 140°F. This is a great environment for harmful bacteria to grow. Play it safe: Refrigerate all leftovers within 2 hours.


Keep cold foods, like deviled eggs and dips, in the refrigerator until serving time. Once they're on the table, keep them stylish and chilled (at 40° F or colder) by nesting them in bowls of ice. You can also serve dips and chili in smaller containers, instead of large serving bowls. Make several small containers in advance and keep them chilled in the refrigerator until you need them.

Superbowl Salsa Recipe:

18 fresh Roma tomatoes
1 medium Jalapeno pepper, stem removed
1 small Vidalia onion, peeled
4 tablespoons of cilantro
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of fresh garlic
2 ounces of fresh lime juice


  • Wash your hands and clean the cutting board and prep area with soap and water.
  • Rinse the tomatoes, Jalapeno pepper, and cilantro under running water.
  • Chop up the tomatoes into small pieces.
  • Finely dice the onion, Jalapeno pepper, and garlic.
  • Slice the cilantro into small pieces.
  • Combine all ingredients (don't forget the garlic and lime juice!) into a bowl and refrigerate until serving time.
  • Nest the bowl in ice once it's on the serving table or make sure you follow the two-hour rule.
  • Enjoy!

The salsa recipe identified as providing protection against Salmonella was published in the Journal of Food Protection, volume 73, pp. 434-444, 2010. The addition of fresh garlic and fresh lime juice was critical to providing the protective effect. Even with this added protection, we recommend the salsa be refrigerated as an additional safeguard.



February 1, 2013

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