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The 3 Best Ways to Serve Your Super Bowl Spread, According to the USDA

Avoid food poisoning by following these tips for keeping your food safe.

Sitting in front of a spread of delicious food to watch the Super Bowl sounds appealing for many reasons. In addition to the big game, nobody wants to miss the commercials or the halftime show.

But leaving your food out isn't without risk, and it may up your chances of getting food poisoning. With this in mind, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety & Inspection Service recently unveiled three tips for avoiding situations that could negatively impact your health. (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.)

First, keep cold food cold. In reverse, keep hot food hot. Finally, reheat and serve as needed. (That's easy enough to remember, right?!)

The majority of food poisoning cases can be avoided if you properly cook and handle your food, according to the Mayo Clinic. Bacteria can "quickly multiply on perishable and undercooked foods" left out at improper temperatures.

"Uncooked foods, such as cold salads or sandwiches, also should be eaten or refrigerated promptly," the Mayo Clinic says. "Your goal is to reduce the time a food is in the 'danger zone' — between 40 and 140 F (4 and 60 C) — when bacteria can quickly multiply."

While symptoms vary based on the type of germ you ingest, common ones include: vomiting, upset stomach, nausea, fever, diarrhea, and cramping. They may develop within a few hours or even in a few days, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC).

Other foodborne illnesses could arise from eating recalled foods, and there are a few big ones you should be aware of. If you have certain salad mixes, Ruffles, and Hot Pockets, you should throw them out. (Related: Here are 8 Food Recalls You Need to Know About Now)

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Amanda McDonald
Amanda is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That!. Read more