dark overlay
nav button USDA Logo

FSIS

Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

Actions
Loading...

Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

Actions
Loading...

Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

Actions
Loading...

Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

Actions
Loading...

Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

Actions
Loading...

Script: Keeping Food Safe on the Buffet Table

 

Podcasts
Script: Keeping Food Safe On The Buffet Table
Intro:
Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety at home podcast series. These podcasts were designed with you in mind - the consumer - who purchases and prepares meat, poultry and processed meat, egg products for your family and friends.

Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging from safe storage, handling, and preparation of meat, poultry and processed egg products to the importance of keeping foods safe during a power outage.

So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.

Host:
Welcome to "Food Safety at Home." This is Gertie Hurley with the Food Safety and Inspection Service. I'm your Host for this segment. With me today is Kathy Bernard, technical information specialist from the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline. Kathy will give us some guidance on keeping food safe on the buffet table.

Hello, Kathy, and welcome back to the show.

Guest:
Thank you. I'm pleased to be here.

Host:
Foods that have been left sitting out at room temperature on the buffet or table at holiday parties can cause foodborne illness. Because of this, it's important to be food safe before you start putting food on the buffet table.

Guest:
That's true, Gertie. When starting to prepare, reheat, or arrange your food, the first thing you should do is wash your hands. In fact, you should always wash your hands before and after handling food.

Your dishes and utensils should be clean also. And always serve food on clean plates — not those previously holding raw meat or poultry. Otherwise, bacteria that may have been present in raw meat juices can cross contaminate the food that's being served.

Host:
Kathy, what should be done if you're cooking foods ahead of time for your party?

Guest:
First, be sure to cook foods to their safe minimum internal temperatures, using a food thermometer to check the temperature.

Host:
Could you give us some examples of safe internal temperatures for cooking foods to a safe temperature?

Guest:
Sure. Foods such as beef, veal and lamb steaks, roasts, and chops may be cooked to 145 °F. All cuts of pork should be cooked to 160 °F. Ground beef, veal and lamb should be cooked to 160 °F. All poultry should reach the safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.

Host:
What are some other food safety procedures we should follow?

Guest:
After cooking foods to the safe minimum internal temperature, divide them into shallow containers and store the food in a refrigerator or freezer until the party begins. This encourages rapid, even cooling.

Host:
What about reheating foods that we're serving?

Guest:
Reheat hot foods to 165 °F. Arrange and serve the food on several small platters rather than on one large platter. Keep the rest of the food hot in the oven (set at 200-250 °F) or cold in the refrigerator at 40 °F until serving time. This way, foods will be held at a safe temperature for a longer period of time. When platters need to be replenished, instead of adding fresh food to them, just replace the platter.

Host:
Speaking of temperature, how long can food be left out at room temperature?

Guest:
Food should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Keep track of how long the food has been sitting on the buffet table and discard anything that has been out at room temperature for two hours or more.

Host:
When you're serving dinner buffet style, it really is important to know the holding temperatures for keeping food safe. What are those?

Guest:
Hot foods should be held at 140 °F or warmer. Use chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays for keeping food hot on the buffet table. Cold foods should be held at 40 °F or colder. Keep foods cold by nesting serving dishes in bowls of ice, or use small serving trays and replace them often.

Host:
Bacteria are everywhere, but a few types especially like to crash buffet dinner parties. Could you name a few?

Guest:
Sure. Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens, and Listeria monocytogenes frequent people's hands and steam tables. Harmful or pathogenic bacteria cannot be smelled or tasted. The best way to prevent them is to be food safe when handling food.

Host:
For a food safe holiday season, USDA recommends that everyone who provides a dish for a holiday buffet party practice four basic food safety steps when handling or preparing food. Kathy, could you tell us again what those are?

Guest: Yes, Gertie. The four basic food safety steps we encourage everyone to practice when handling or preparing food are:
  • Clean - Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate - Don't cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat and poultry apart from cooked foods.
  • Cook - Use a food thermometer to be sure meat and poultry are safely cooked.
  • Chill - Refrigerate or freeze food promptly.

Host:
How can a person learn more about keeping food safe on the buffet table?

Guest:
Consumers can visit the FSIS Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov. That's www.fsis.usda.gov. Or visit us online for assistance from our virtual representative "Ask Karen" at AskKaren.gov. Consumers may also call our toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. That's 1-888-674-6854.

Host:
That's it for this week. We've been talking to Kathy Bernard from the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline. Thank you so much, Kathy, for your helpful guidance on how to keep food safe on the buffet table. I'm Gertie Hurley and I'd like to thank you for joining us for this episode of "Food Safety at Home." And remember, "Be Food Safe."

Outro:
Well, that's all for this time. Thanks for joining us today for another episode of food safety at home!

For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. That's 1-888-674-6854.

You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our virtual representative "Ask Karen" at askkaren.gov .

Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your comments to podcast@fsis.usda.gov.
Thanks for tuning in.
Last Modified Nov 08, 2013