Tailgate before the games but practice food safety

Football season has gotten underway and for many fans that means one thing. Time to tailgate.

Party hosts need to be sure to practice food safety while celebrating. Keep hot foods hot and cold items well-chilled.

Don’t let any perishable food sit out on a table all afternoon. An hour or two, at most, is safe — and that’s at room temperature. If leaving perishable food out longer than two hours, serve in either heating sources, such as a chafing dish or slow cooker, or in chilling sources, such as nesting the serving dish in bowls of ice.

Other tips:

Avoid game-day stress by make a checklist of items needed for the day, including napkins, disposable plates, large trash bags and ice.

Chop or slice vegetables the night before and refrigerate in separate plastic bags.

Wash hands and surfaces often.

Keep raw meat and poultry separate from cooked foods.

Use a food thermometer to make sure meat and poultry are safely cooked, and chill foods promptly.

Throw away leftovers; don’t try to serve after the game or the next day.

Make sure your tailgating site has been picked up — no trash left behind — before heading home.