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Super Bowl Food Safety

By Sangita Viswanathan
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Despite all the excitement surrounding the big game, party hosts should be cognizant of potential lurking dangers in their food. No one wants to get sick off a few wings, jalapeno poppers, and mozzarella sticks – An interview with PURE Bioscience’s CEO, Hank Lambert.

With the Super Bowl this weekend, fans around the country are beginning to plan for their big parties, deciding who to invite and what food they’ll be serving. Some rough estimates predict that football fans, on an average will consume 2400 calories, just during the game.

Despite all the excitement surrounding the big game, party hosts should be cognizant of potential lurking dangers in their food. No one wants to get sick off a few wings, jalapeno poppers, and mozzarella sticks.

Hank Lambert, CEO of PURE Bioscience, Inc. spoke to Food Safety Tech about how costs can keep their food safe and precautions that can be taken to prevent Super Bowl fans from getting sick from the food.

PURE Bioscience develops and commercializes proprietary antimicrobial products based on patented, stabilized ionic silver, and Silver Dihydrogen Citrate (SDC). “The product is a food contact disinfectant that is effective in killing a broad range of pathogens, including norovirus (in 60 seconds). We are non-toxic compared to others that are ammonium or chlorine based, tasteless/ odorless and non-corrosive (with an EPA level 4 toxicity or lowest toxicity label),” describes Lambert.

Lambert warns that norovirus is particularly dangerous during this season, and is a risk at home entertaining as much as it is in a public restaurant or cruise ship. Following food handling and prep guidelines is always critical and Lambert provides a few tips to ensure this:

  • Ensure that hands are properly cleaned between preparing and serving, between handling raw and prepared foods. Proper hand washing by itself, can help halve half the risk of any foodborne illness, he points out.
  • Ensure food prep surfaces are cleaned, so that any cross contamination can be avoided. For instance after prepping raw chicken, make sure you properly wash and sanitize the surface before cutting veggies or cheese on it.
  • Keep raw and cooked foods separate, starting at the grocery store keep your chicken wings for instance in a separate bag from the carrots or celery or dip to minimize risk of cross contamination, and follow this at home in the refrigerator and during prep.
  • Cook your foods thoroughly. For instance, poultry (wings or tenders), make sure it’s cooked to internal temp of 165 F to kill potential bacteria.
  • Keep the foods at safe temperatures, whether it’s in the refrigerator (40 F or below) when storing or serving them to ensure bacteria won’t grow. Don’t leave prepared food out for more than two hours out at a time, Lambert mentions guacamole served in large bowls, left sitting out for hours at such parties. “Serve in a small bowl, refrigerate the rest, and replenish when needed to maintain safe temperatures,” he advises.

Another rule to remember: “If you have someone at home or a guest is sick, they should not be handling food or around food. Even if you think you are feeling better, you could still be shedding norovirus or other germs when you sneeze, perspire etc., for up to three days after you feel better. So be thoughtful of other guests,” Lambert cautions.

So which traditional Super Bowl foods are the most prone to food-borne illnesses? “A common culprit is often chicken products, which, if not cooked to proper internal temperature, carry the risk of spreading Salmonella. Raw vegetables can also be a leading cause if not properly washed, or if they have been cross contaminated,” lists Lambert.

So while you are reveling in your Super Bowl Party this weekend, eat safe and may the best team win!