Buffets are an easy and popular way to serve food at parties. However, if food is left out for long periods, bacteria that cause foodborne illness can become an issue. Bacteria are everywhere, and unlike microorganisms that cause food to spoil, disease-causing bacteria cannot usually be smelled or tasted. Prevention is key, and the best way to prevent foodborne illness is to practice safe food handling.
1. Always wash your hands before and after handling food. Keep kitchen, dishes and utensils clean as well.
2. Cook foods thoroughly. If cooking foods ahead of time, be sure
to cook them thoroughly to safe minimum internal temperatures:
Beef steaks & roasts should be cooked to 160° F (medium)
Pork chops & roasts should be cooked to 160° F (medium)
Poultry (turkey/chicken) should be cooked to at least 165° F
3. Keep food hot in the oven (set at 200° - 250° F) or cold in the
refrigerator until just before serving.
4. If foods need to be warmed, reheat them to at least 165° F.
5. Hot foods should be held at 140° F or warmer. Use chafing
dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays on the buffet table to keep
6. Cold foods should be held at 40° F or colder. Keep foods cold
by nesting dishes in bowls of ice.
7. Arrange and serve food on several small platters rather than on one large platter.
8. Always serve food on clean plates. Replace empty platters rather than adding fresh food to a dish
that already had food in it.
9. Don't let foods sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Keep track of how long foods
have been sitting on the buffet table and discard any perishable foods that have been sitting out
for two hours or more.
789 N. Dixboro Road, P.O. Box 130140, Ann Arbor, MI 48113-0140
Consumer Hotline: 1-888-99-SAFER Website: www.nsf.org