University of Maryland Extension

Updated February 3, 2021: Super Bowl LV

(Washington, D.C., February 3, 2021) – Score a touchdown this year with your Super Bowl LV snacks by keeping bacteria out of the end zone. While your Super Bowl traditions may look different this year given COVID-19 and the need to maintain social distancing, your plans probably still involve food. Whether you are cooking your favorite munchies from scratch or ordering from a nearby restaurant, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) wants you to remember to follow safe food handling rules.
“As Americans prepare their Super Bowl food, protecting loved ones from foodborne illnesses is essential,” said USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Paul Kiecker. “Millions of people get sick from food poisoning each year. Following guidance on proper handwashing and avoiding cross-contamination can keep your family safe.”
Check out USDA’s game plan to avoid these personal fouls.
Agree to a Clean Game: Do wash your hands. Washing your hands protects you from harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness and make you sick. In a recent USDA study, participants failed to wash their hands correctly 99 percent of the time. Make sure you wet your hands with warm running water and lather them with soap for a full 20 seconds. Time yourself by singing the Happy Birthday song twice. Then rinse and dry with a clean towel or paper towel.
Don’t wash chicken wings, other poultry products or meats. Many people who wash or rinse meat and poultry do so out of habit or because it’s how they learned to cook. USDA research found that washing or rinsing these items greatly increases the spread of germs by splashing bacteria onto kitchen surfaces and other food items.
Keep Opposing Teams Apart: Don’t cross contaminate. When you’re shopping at the grocery store, keep raw meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood in separate plastic bags to prevent their juices from dripping onto other foods. Always remember to use separate cutting boards – one for fresh fruits and vegetables, and another for raw meats. Keep raw meats away from ready-to-eat foods.
Cook the Opponent: The only way to kill bacteria is to cook raw meat, poultry, seafood, and egg products to a safe minimum internal temperature. Use a food thermometer to ensure food has reached the recommended temperatures, which will kill any harmful bacteria that may be present. Ground meats should reach 160 F, whole cuts of meat should reach 145 F with a three-minute rest time, and chicken wings should reach at least 165 F. Take the temperature of multiple wings in the thickest part of the wing, being careful to avoid touching the bone, which can skew the reading.
Throughout the game, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Keep hot foods above 140 F in a slow cooker or chafing dish or keep half of the food in a warm oven. Keep cold foods at 40 F or below by placing salads, dips and salsa in a tray of ice. If serving food throughout the game, keep two separate portions on hand for easy swapping. Serve one portion as the game starts and keep another portion in the refrigerator or oven to set out after half time to prevent dangerous bacteria from growing.
Chill Out: Most bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 F and 140 F, also known as the Danger Zone. Don’t leave food sitting out at room temperature for more than two hours. Before those two hours are up, place small portions of leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate them promptly. When reheating leftovers, make sure they reach 165 F.
If you have questions, contact the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety expert or chat live at from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
NOTE: Access FSIS news releases and other information at


Updated August 18, 2020:Food Safety & COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 Resources

The following resources provide best practices for preparing for COVID-19 and managing risk for individuals at home and for food environments such as restaurants, grocery stores, food banks, gardens and farms. These resources are based on guidance and best practices as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), World Health Organization (WHO) and the best available science. All items are peer reviewed by an expert panel, and many are translated into Spanish. Check back frequently for updates to the guidance.

National up-to-date webpages:

State up-to-date webpages:

Home and Community


Hand Hygiene

Cloth Face Coverings

Cleaning and Disinfecting


Planning a Mass Feeding Event

Grocery Shopping

 Dining Out 

Social Media Images

 Grocery Shopping

Dining out

Infosheets: Spanish

Inocuidad de los Alimentos, Salir a Cenar y Hacer Compras

 Social Media Images: Spanish

Hojas Informativas del Servicio de Alimentos

Hojas Informativas de la Tienda de Comestibles

Hojas Informativas del Banco de Alimentos

Cultivar, Jardines y Producir Hojas Informativas Agricultura y Venta Directa al Consumidor

Jarineria y Productos

 Inocuidad de los Alimentos, Salir a Cenar y Hacer Compras

Revestimientos Faciales de Tela

 Foodservice Infosheets – Haitian Creole

Farms, Gardens and Produce Infosheets – Haitian Creole

Infosheet: Chinese


Follow the Division of Extension - University of Wisconsin-Madison Blog

Infosheets: Food Bank

Retail Food Environments

5/27/2020-FDA: Voluntary Reporting of Temporary Closures or Requesting Assistance for FDA-Regulated Food Establishments During COVID-19 Pandemic 

5/22/2020- FDA: FDA Announces Temporary Flexibility Policy Regarding Certain Labeling Requirements for Foods for Humans During COVID-19 Pandemic

Retail Signs-These signs can be downloaded and filled with business specific information

 Infosheets: Foodservice

Infosheets: Grocery Store

Farms, Gardens, and Produce

As the State of Maryland continues its unprecedented response to COVID-19, the Maryland Department of Agriculture is emphasizing the need for businesses involved in the state’s food supply chain to continue production. For more information visit: Maryland Dept. of Agriculture

June-MDA Agricultural Site COVID-19 Guidance

May 2020- FDA: Temporary Policy During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Regarding the Qualified Exemption from the Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption

Farming and Direct to Consumer Sales

Farmers Markets

Pick Your Own (PYO) or U-Pick operations

Gardening and Produce

Bulk Meat Sales

Follow our Grower Newsletter

Online Resources: Farm

 Contributing partners

  • University of Maryland Extension
  • University of Maryland, College Park 
  • NC State Extension (References-COVID-19 Food Safety Resources)
  • Purdue University
  • Louisiana State University
  • Division of Extension - University of Wisconsin-Madison 

2020 GAP

Baltimore County- 3/17/20 Cockeysville, MD Register (postponed)

EMAIL Shauna Henley & Angela Ferelli for more information regarding the workshop. &

Attending a Basic GAP course may be right for you if...

  • You are thinking about pursuing GAP certification for some or all parts of your operation

  • You are interested in developing a good safety plan to increase operational efficiency and build a food safety culture

  • You are looking to learn more about how microbes live and interact with farm environments, or

  • You have a potential buyer that requires GAP certification

What you’ll get from this training

  •  Tips on how to implement practices to minimize your food safety risk during growing, harvesting, holding, and packing your product

  •  Practice conducting risk assessments

  •  Practice writing Standard Operating Procedures

  •  Assistance on writing your food safety plan

  •  A Maryland Department of Agriculture GAP training certificate

Register: Basic GAP

Cost: $15-20 (lunch and certificate)

USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline: 1-888-MPHotline

The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline can personally answer your food safety questions on weekdays year-round.

The Hotline receives more than 80,000 calls yearly. This toll-free telephone service, which began July 1, 1985, helps prevent foodborne illness by answering questions about the safe storage, handling, and preparation of meat, poultry, and egg products.

Food Safety Questions? Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline

If you have a question about meat, poultry, or egg products, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline toll free at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854).

The Hotline is open year-round Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET (English or Spanish). Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. Check out the FSIS Web site at

Send email questions to

Ask Karen! ( | ) 
FSIS’ automated response system can provide food safety information 24/7 and a live chat during Hotline hours. Mobile phone users can access

**Our website is currently being updated.  As we slowly build our website, we will have trusted (peer reviewed) fact sheets and advice to reduce your family’s chances of experiencing a foodborne illness.  Thank you for your patience.**


Food Safety
Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2021. Web Accessibility

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