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Food Safety Feature Articles


Keep food safe for tailgating

Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Barton County, University of Missouri Extension


One of the great things about football season is the tailgating! To keep tailgating fun and safe, it’s important to keep your food safe.


Things to keep in mind when you are preparing for tailgating:


  1. Wash your hands, work areas and utensils before working with perishable food to prevent spreading of bacteria.
  2. Double wrap meats in plastic wrap or bags to prevent contamination of other foods. If possible, have a separate cooler for meats and ready to eat foods.
  3. If you do cook the meat before heading to the game, be sure to cook it in plenty of time to allow it to cool before packing it in the cooler. It is important to store perishable foods at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. To assure meat is safe, cook hamburgers and brats to 160 F and chicken breast to 165 F.
  5. Remove meat from the grill to a clean platter to avoid cross contamination. (If you put it back on the platter that held the raw meat, bacteria can latch on and grow.)
  6. Pack the cooler with plenty of ice to maintain cool temperatures. If it is hot outside, transport the cooler inside the car. The heat of the trunk can make it hard to maintain the proper temperature.
  7. We usually say not to leave perishable food out longer than two hours to prevent bacteria growth. If the temperature is around 90 degrees, bacteria grows faster and that time is reduced to one hour.
  8. Remember that food safety is also important for carry-out foods. Plan on eating them within two hours after picking them up.


Follow these guidelines to ensure that everyone enjoys the game day festivities.


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Last update: Monday, September 23, 2013