Salad Social Safety

Salad Socials are a great way to bring everyone together to share a meal, but here are a few tips for keeping foodborne illness off of your guest list.


  • remember the food safety basics: clean, separate, cook, and chill.
  • wash your hands before preparing any food or moving through the buffet line.
  • remember the “two hour” rule. Any potentially hazardous food (such as dairy, meat, fish, cooked vegetables, rice, chopped/sliced fruits and vegetables) that have sat out at room temperature for more than 2 hours should be thrown away.
  • have a plan for keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
  • consider transportation before you decide what to bring.  Transport cold foods in a cooler or in a container with ice packs.  Hot food is best transported in a slow cooker wrapped in bags to say warm. 
  • encourage guests to label and describe food items which is especially helpful for those with food allergies.
  • bring clean tongs or other serving utensils.
  • encourage the use of recycled paper plates or reusable containers and clean plates for “seconds.”


  • prepare food for others if you or others in your household are sick.
  • partially cook food at home to finish at the salad social or potluck or prepare the food the day before with the intent of reheating in a slow cooker.
  • take leftovers home.  Not only has food been sitting out for a long time, there is the risk of contamination from the many people passing through the line.
  • bring items from home that you’ve already opened.  Leave the half-eaten box of crackers or bag of nuts in your kitchen pantry.

Cooking for Groups Food Safety Tips from Food Safety. gov

More information:

Tips for Washing Leafy Greens

Keep Food Safe! Food Safety Basics