Avoid Party Penalties - Play it Safe for the Super Bowl

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 | 10:38am

NASHVILLE – Millions of people across Tennessee and the country will gather February 5 to watch and celebrate the Super Bowl, and food and drink are a big part of the festivities. The Tennessee Department of Health is sharing reminders about the game plan to keep your party free of penalties when it comes to food-borne illness and safety. 

“Party hosts and guests should follow a few simple recommendations to keep food safe,” said TDH Deputy State Epidemiologist John Dunn, DVM, PhD. “Following simple, common sense rules can help make sure your celebration is safe and your friends remember the Super Bowl party, not getting sick.”

Take steps to avoid these penalties at your party:

Illegal Use of Hands:  Passing party snacks or preparing food? Wash your hands! This simple step can go long in preventing the spread of illness. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before preparing or serving food and before eating.

Holding:  Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold both when transporting items to a party and when serving. Hot foods must have a heat source to keep them at or warmer than 140° F. Cold foods should be kept on ice to remain at a safe temperature at or below 40° F.

Excessive Time Out:  Bacteria can grow in perishable foods within two hours unless you refrigerate them. Cold temperatures slow the growth of illness-causing bacteria, so it’s important to chill food promptly and properly. Never thaw or marinate foods on the counter, since bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature.

Illegal Procedure:  Using one knife and/or cutting board for everything? That’s a quick route to cross-contamination and food-borne illness! Bacteria can survive in many places including on utensils, cutting boards and surfaces, so start with clean equipment and surfaces and wash them all after each use. Devote one cutting board and knife to raw meats, and use a separate knife and cutting surface for other foods. Never reuse paper towels, as doing so can spread bacteria around your kitchen.  

Piling On:  Pigskin parties don’t have to mean pigging out! Start the day with a healthful breakfast so you you’re not hungry when you arrive at the party. Get in a workout to burn some calories before you go. Drink plenty of water during the day to help reduce the empty calories you consume with other beverages and help keep you full. Make a great play by bringing a healthy dish to the party to share. Search out lighter items such as raw vegetables and grilled meats, and focus on your food while eating rather than munching mindlessly while watching the game. 

Excessive Celebration:  There’s no worse violation than driving impaired, and the penalties can be life-changing for you, your loved ones and/or a fellow traveler. Consequences include criminal prosecution, injury or death in an alcohol or drug-related crash. If you drink alcohol during your party, make plans for a sober driver, be that a friend, relative, ride share, taxi, bus or another means, or plan an overnight stay at your celebration site. NEVER drink and drive or let anyone else drive or walk home alone while impaired.

‘’We want everyone to have fun while watching the Super Bowl, but to also be safe before, during and after the game,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Be moderate in consuming food and drink and absolutely not to drive or walk alone while impaired. Remember many drugs people take regularly can cause impairment when mixed with alcohol or all by themselves. Don't let a great American night of fun and fellowship end in tragedy."

Find more tips for a food-safe Super Bowl at www.foodsafety.gov/keep/events/superbowl/index.html.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments.  Learn more about TDH services and programs at www.tn.gov/health.