Four Food Safety Tips To Keep In Mind When You Have A Meal Catered

Posted on: 9 June 2015

When you have a meal catered, the catering company is responsible for ensuring the food you are given is handled safely up until the point of delivery. Once the caterers leave, however, it's on you to make sure you handle that food properly, so nobody in your party ends up with food poisoning. These four tips will help you do just that.

Keep the dishes of food covered when guests are not actively serving themselves.

All it takes is for someone with a cold or the flu to cough or sneeze near the serving dish, and suddenly, your food can be contaminated. If it's summer and there are flies, mosquitoes or other insects around, they can also spread disease by landing on the food. Minimize this risk by covering the dishes of food as soon as everyone has been through the line and served themselves. If anyone wants seconds, they can peel back the cover and serve themselves, and then cover the food again.

Leave the utensils in the serving dishes.

Don't place utensils on the table next to the dishes or on paper plates next to the dishes. This exposes them to flies and germs that may be lingering on the table surface, and it also increases the chance that someone with not-so-clean hands may touch the service side of the utensil when picking it up. Plus, the food on a utensil stored outside of the serving dish cools to room temperature quickly. Bacteria grow well at this temperature. Be safe, and store your utensils directly in the pans or bowls of food during the meal.

Put leftovers in the fridge promptly.

Don't let the food sit out for hours. The danger zone for bacterial growth is between 41 and 135 degrees F. It's important not to let food sit in that temperature range for any longer than necessary. Place the food in the fridge as soon as everyone is done eating.

Experts recommend ensuring that the food cools from 135 to 70 F within 2 hours, and then from 70 to 41 F within an additional 4 hours. This will require that your fridge is plenty cold -- use a thermometer to make sure it's below 41 degrees F before you put the food inside.

Divide large portions of leftovers before placing them in the fridge.

If you have large pans of food leftover, divide them into smaller portions before placing them in the fridge to cool. It takes large portions of food longer to cool, so if you do not divide them, they may not cool fast enough to inhibit bacterial growth.

With these tips, your next catering experience can be as safe as possible. If you have any food safety questions, ask a caterer like Giuseppe's or others when they drop off the food. Most are trained in food safety and will be able to pass bits of that knowledge on to you.