Food Safety - A Successful Dinner Party starts with safely prepared food.

When family and friends get together food is almost always a must have. It nourishes our bodies, delights our pallets, and brings us together.  But food is not without its risks.  It's easy to get frazzled with all the planning that goes into hosting a dinner.  Here are some tips to help keep everyone safe and healthy at your next food-centric event.

  1. Wash all surface that you plan to use to prepare food – your hands should be washed before and after handling food (and when switching between fresh, raw, and cooked foods) for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap.
  2. Keep raw meats separated from other ingredients. If using a cutting board, use one for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.  If the board has deep gouges that are hard to clean – it’s time to replace it!
  3. Never thaw food at room temperature. Always allow food to defrost in the refrigerator, microwave, or cold water (in a suitable container)
  4. Cook food to the correct temperature. Use a thermometer to verify internal temperatures – there are several types available be sure to read the instructions for proper use.
  5. Keep foods out of the danger zone (between 40 and 140 °F). Bacteria multiplies quickly at these temperatures.  Once foods are hot – keep them hot.  Similarly, chilled foods should be kept chilled.

When dinner is over, and your guests have gone home you may find yourself with leftovers.  Here are some tips for making sure tomorrows serving is just as delectable (and safe to eat) as today's!

  1. Store food quickly in the refrigerator or freezer. Throw away any perishable foods that have been left sitting out at room temperatures for 2 hours or more. If they’ve been out in the sun (in temperatures of 90°F or more) they should be thrown away after just 1 hour.
    1. It is ok to put hot foods directly into the refrigerator.
  2. When you are ready to eat, leftover foods should be reheated to 165°F or higher before serving. Bring any soups or sauces to a boil before serving.

For more tips on preventing foodborne illnesses visit

Guests running late or need to reschedule?  Check out these tips