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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
Seems we just got through planning our Christmas celebration and now we are planning
New Year’s Eve. As we make our guest list, there is someone we do not want to attend.
That someone is bacteria that can cause food borne illness, or food poisoning as we
During most New Year’s Eve parties, we usually set up a buffet, because of its ease
in maintaining. Unfortunately, this type of food service leaves the door open for
those uninvited guests, bacteria.
Bacteria are everywhere, especially where we don’t want them. They love to crash parties
and make guests ill. These bacteria are unlike the microorganisms that cause food
to spoil. These harmful or pathogenic bacteria cannot be smelled or tasted.
Your key to prevention is to practice safe food handling. Always wash your hands before
and after handling food. Keep your kitchen, dishes and utensils clean. Always serve
food on clean plates, not those previously holding raw meat and poultry. Otherwise,
bacteria that may have been present in raw meat juices can cross contaminate the food
to be served.
If your party will include meats, cook thoroughly to a safe internal temperature.
Use a meat thermometer, to determine if your meats are safely cooked. Cook roast beef,
veal, and lamb to 145°F for medium rare and 160°F for medium. Cook all poultry to
165°F including wings and ground poultry. Hams fresh or smoked (uncooked) should be
cooked to 145°F and allowed to rest for at least 3 minutes.
Once your party foods have been cooked, divide cooked foods into shallow containers
to store in the refrigerator or freezer until serving. This encourages rapid, even
cooling. Reheat hot foods to 165°F. Once reheated to the proper temperature, arrange
and serve 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
until serving time. This way food will be held at a safe temperature for a longer
period of time. Once food runs out on the buffet, replace empty platters rather than
adding fresh food to a dish that already had food in it. Many hands may have been
taking food from the dish, which has also been sitting at room temperature.
Foods should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Place ma sticky
note on each item as put on the buffet to keep track of how long foods have been sitting
on the buffet table. Anything over two hours or more, discard. During these two hours,
bacteria begin to rapidly grow and multiply, therefore increasing your chances of
food borne illness.
One of the easiest rules of safe food handling to follow is that hot foods should
be held at 140°F or warmer, and cold foods should be held at 40°F or colder. On the
buffet table, you can keep hot foods hot with chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming
trays. Keep foods cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice. Otherwise, use small serving
trays and replace them frequently as previously mentioned.
By following these simple rules, you and your guests can have a safe New Year’s Eve
party, that will be remembered as being full of fun and good times, and not the party
where they met the uninvited guests referred to as food borne illness.
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or
visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at firstname.lastname@example.org,
on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaHaleyHadley, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or
on the web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller.
Add this artichoke spinach dip to your buffet and keep it safe by cooking and warming
it in a crockpot. I made this for Christmas as an appetizer and it was a delicious
Artichoke Spinach Dip
9 ounces light cream cheese
16 ounces light sour cream
1/2 cup butter
10 ounce frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove excess liquid
14 ounce can artichoke hearts
Small can diced green chilies, mild drained (don’t worry it won’t make it hot)
2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Combine all ingredients in crock pot liner; turn on low and let cook for 2 hours.
Stir before serving, if melted turn to warm. If it is too thick, add milk and stir.
Serve with tortilla chips or bagel chips.
By Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 email@example.com
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
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