Food safety for open houses

Tips for keeping food safe while hosting an open house.

With open houses taking place almost every weekend, it is important to make sure food is being served safely. When we fail to follow food safety guidelines, we risk exposing guests to various bacteria and possible viruses. Some important guidelines to follow are keeping all foods being served out of the temperature danger zone. The temperature danger zone is the range of temperatures in which bacteria grows rapidly; anywhere between 41 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit is considered in the temperature danger zone. The longer food sits in this range, the more bacteria grows. Check out the following tips from to keep any food you are serving safe.

Steps to serving food safely:
  • Always properly wash hands before, during and after handling any food you will be serving.
  • Make sure all food being served is cooked to its minimum internal temperature.
    • Generally, the following temperatures apply: poultry: 165 F, ground meat: 155 F, seafood: 145 F, pork beef veal and lamb: 145 F, fruits veggies grains and legumes for hot held service: 135 F.
  • Use a food thermometer, such as an instant read thermometer, to ensure all food has been cooked to the correct temperature.
  • Hot food needs to be held at 135 F or higher before removed from its temperature control and then has 4 hours before it needs to be discarded.
  • Cold food needs to be held at 41 F or cooler before removed from its temperature control and has 6 hours before it needs to be discarded.
    • If the temperature exceeds 70 F, the food must be disposed of.
  • Check on your food every 2-4 hours to ensure proper temperatures are held.

Keeping your guests safe is an important part of serving large quantities of food; you do not want them to remember your party because they ended up sick. Be sure to follow all safety tips included, and check out Michigan State University Extension’s webpage for more information regarding food safety.

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