Preparing for a Tailgate with Food Safety

Updated: Aug 29, 2021

Written by Peyton Millard


Food safety is often forgotten at tailgating events as food sits out for hours on end. Here are some tips to keep you and your athlete safe at your next tailgate.


Rinse your fruit and vegetables.

Food safety starts at home! Rinsing off any fruit or vegetables you plan to bring to the tailgate is the first step in preventing foodborne illness.

Sanitize your hands.

Think ahead and plan for dirty hands. Be sure to bring hand cleansing wipes or soap and water to keep your hands clean when handling uncooked (or cooked) foods.


Keep raw and cooked meat or poultry separate.

When packing your cooler, be sure that any raw meat or poultry are securely wrapped to prevent cross-contamination. When taking food off the grill, use a clean plate. Never put cooked food on a plate that held raw meat or poultry.


Temperature safety is key.

Keep your hot foods hot and your cold foods cold! Store cold items in a cooler over ice except for brief times when serving. Bring a thermometer to ensure proper minimum cooking temperatures are reached when grilling.

- raw beef & pork – 145ºF

- ground beef & pork – 160ºF

- all poultry – 165º­F


Keep in mind the two-hour rule.

Cooked food can be served without being refrigerated for two hours. In hot weather (90ºF or above) food should never sit out for more than one hour. Throw out any cold leftovers that are not still cold (40ºF or below) after the game.


Happy tailgating!



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