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.