Holiday partygoers may choose to mingle first and eat later, but they may return home with an unexpected guest — an upset stomach — if those foods have been sitting at improper temperatures for too long, says Dr. Vickie Vaclavik, a clinical nutritionist at
UT Southwestern Medical Center.
“To deter bacteria growth, holiday party hosts should remember the two-hour rule,” she says. “Foods should not sit unprotected at room temperature for more than about two hours.”
Cream-based products, eggs, meats and milk are examples of foods in party fare that naturally promote bacteria growth that cause food-borne illness.
“If these categories of foods are to be left out — either unrefrigerated or not held hot — they may become unsafe to eat. The host may use smaller, easily replaced batches, which should be discarded after a couple of hours, or the foods should be held at the right temperatures.”
Other tips include: Replacing platters for fresh food instead of adding fresh food to a dirtied dish; keeping hot foods at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer, and cold foods at 40 degrees F or colder; keeping your hands, work surfaces and utensils clean.
Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/nutrition to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in nutrition.
Media Contact: Kristen Holland Shear
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