Part of the popularity of American sports culture today has been the emergence of tailgating. From NASCAR races to football, it is not uncommon before the game to see a parking lot full of grills, coolers and plenty of good food. Enjoy the fun and avoid disaster by following these safety rules:
- Keep your food safe. From transportation to the stadium to prep time, food must be properly stored and kept cool to avoid contamination. No one wants a dose of food poisoning before kickoff.
- The same processes for grilling food in the kitchen carries out to the parking lot. Meats and fish must be cooked to the proper temperature. Be sure when loading up your cooking utensils to include a meat thermometer and remember to use it.
Here are some quick temperatures to keep in mind:
- Pork/Beef – 160 degrees
- Chicken/Poultry – 165 degrees
- Fish – 145 degrees
- Cold foods should be kept at 35-45 degrees
- If you’re using a generator, follow all safety instructions included with the unit and be sure to run it in a well-ventilated space away from open doors, windows and places where people are gathered. Generators emit carbon monoxide, which is harmful if breathed. The National Safety Council has even more helpful portable generator tips.
- It is always a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher handy at tailgating events. It is one of the most reassuring ways to keep the flames in control. And never pour water on a grease fire. Here’s what happens when you do.
- In regards to leftover food from your feast, the mantra of ‘when in doubt, throw it out’ always holds true. Since most athletic events last 2-3 hours, food sitting in a car will probably not fare well.
- Finally, getting home from the game is just as important as safely getting to the game. Many sporting events are associated with the consumption of alcohol. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying a beverage at the game, driving home afterwards is not in anyone’s best interest. Always have a designated driver, and let’s Go Team!!