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Potluck Season Reminders

When you know that the food you bring to a potluck was prepared safely, you will feel good about sharing it with others.

With fall just around the corner comes the season of sports teams, families, and communities coming together around a shared meal. Potlucks are a great way to spend time together and sample different foods. Make sure you are following these quick tips for safe group food handling:

  • Foodborne illnesses spread most rapidly through improper handwashing. Using soap, warm water, and scrubbing well ensures clean hands for food preparation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that we scrub our hands for at least 20 seconds. Make sure you are also washing hands after using the restroom, handling raw meat or eggs, touching the hair or face, sneezing or coughing, or touching any contaminants.
  • Keep cold foods (potato salad, fruit salad) cold up until serving by keeping them in the refrigerator. If possible, serve the cold food in containers nested in containers of ice while serving. Measure the temperature of the foods to make sure they stay cold at 40 degrees or less. Remember:  the danger zone for bacteria growth is 40 to 140 F.
  • Keep hot foods (meatballs, casseroles) hot up until serving at 140 F or higher. Make use of crockpots or similar warmers to keep foods hot all while serving.
  • Make sure that perishable hot and cold foods are kept out no longer than two hours (or one hour if it is a hot day).
  • Keep food and coolers out of direct sunlight.
  • Refrigerate leftovers immediately if you plan to keep them.
  • Do not prepare food for a potluck if you are sick, even if you promised to bring a dish. If you are experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps, you could unintentionally spread bacteria to the food. Guests will understand, trust us!

When you know that the food you bring to a potluck was prepared safely, you will feel good about sharing it with others.



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),

U.S. Department of Agriculture,

Prepared by Jayme Ericson, NDSU Extension Service Intern - Concordia College Dietetic Internship Program.

Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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