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Keep bacteria away from the holiday buffet

Holiday gatherings are a wonderful time for the members of your church to enjoy fellowship and food. But dishes left to linger on the buffet table can bring an unwelcome guest to the party: food poisoning.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food-borne illnesses affect about 76 million Americans each year. The most common practice leading to the food-borne disease is keeping food at the improper temperature.

Here are a few tips to help keep bacteria away from the holiday buffet.

  • Everyone should wash their hands before and after handling food or serving themselves from the buffet.
  • Use chafing dishes, slow cookers and warming trays to keep hot food at 140 degrees or warmer.
  • Use ice or insulated serving dishes to ensure that cold foods remain at 40 degrees.
  • Serve food on several small platters, rather than on one large platter. Keep the rest of the food hot in the oven or cold in the refrigerator until you need it on the buffet.
  • Replace empty platters rather than adding fresh food to a dish on the serving table.
  • Keep track of how long food has been sitting on the table and discard anything that has been on the buffet two hours.

Food and fellowship go together in your church. With increased awareness, your congregation can continue to enjoy their holiday buffets with no unwanted guests showing up.

You can learn more about food safety by visiting the Brotherhood Mutual safety library.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice. Readers should use this article as a tool, along with best judgment and any terms or conditions that apply, to determine appropriate safety precautions for programs and activities.