Food safety tips help avoid illness penalty at big game

(AP File Photo/Larry Crowe)

(AP) — Food safety experts want football fans to avoid a food-borne illness penalty at their Super Bowl parties.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says following a few simple rules can prevent problems.

One of the keys to serving food safely is making sure hot or cold food doesn’t sit out for extended periods at temperatures between 40 degrees and 140 degrees.

When serving warm foods, keep them on warming trays or in slow cookers to keep them above 140 degrees. And either keep food in a warm oven or refrigerated when it’s not being served.

Cold foods can be kept cool by nesting serving dishes in bowls of ice.

Make sure to check temperatures with a thermometer.

The USDA offers more food safety help online at or by calling 1-888-674-6854.