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Experts offer food tips to stay safe this Super Bowl Sunday

NEW YORK – As families across the country prepare to watch the New England Patriots take on the Atlanta Falcons, the United States Department of Agriculture is warning everyone of foodborne illnesses.

It’s a fact that Americans will be enjoying some food while watching the game, but experts say you shouldn’t let your guard down when it comes to temperatures.

When foods are between 40 degrees and 140 degrees, bacteria can multiply.

Experts say you should avoid serving Super Bowl favorites, like pizza and chicken wings, at room temperature for the game.

When serving food or ordering take out, remember the following tips:

  • If warm takeout foods are served immediately, keep them at 140 degrees or above by placing them on warming trays or in an oven/slow cooker.
  • If take out food will not be served immediately, put them in an oven or divide the food into smaller portions and refrigerate it. When it comes time to serve it, reheat it to 165 degrees.
  • Cold foods that are served should be kept at 40 degrees or below. You can do this by nesting the serving dishes in bowls of ice. Avoid storing food outside where the sun can heat it up and animals can reach it.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure that food is being served at the right temperature.

If you are cooking food yourself, follow these rules:

  • Don’t wash raw chicken wings. In all, 67 percent of respondents in a 2016 FDA food safety survey indicated they washed raw chicken parts, but washing will not destroy pathogens. In fact, it may increase the risk of contaminating other foods and surfaces.
  • Again, check the temperature by using a food thermometer. Take the temp at the thickest part of the wing, avoid the bone and make sure it is 165 degrees.