4 Rules for a Safe Buffet
It’s all fun and games—until someone gets E. coli. Take the guesswork out of serving a germ-free spread.
Don’t leave food out all day. In 85-degree weather, about two hours is the maximum for everything except the chips, says Faith Critzer, an assistant professor of food science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Unless a dish is kept refrigerator-cold or piping hot, harmful bacteria can quickly spread.
Put salads on ice. You can keep them nice and fresh by putting the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice and a little water.
Be careful with raw meat. Don’t put cooked burgers back on the platter where the raw patties were. And have a second pair of tongs to use once meat is cooked.
Serve more vinegar-based salads. “Vinegar is acidic, which is good for preventing bacteria,” says Critzer. It’s not that mayonnaise is the enemy. “It’s also acidic,” says Critzer, “but that benefit is lost as soon as you mix in potatoes or pasta.”