- To keep foods appetizing, set out smaller platters and replenish them each hour or as needed. This also helps keep foods at safe serving temperatures.
- Make sure hot foods are kept at 140°F or warmer. Use a chafing dish or warming tray.
- Keep cold foods on ice or replace often to maintain a temperature of 45°F or colder.
- Never leave foods at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- When refilling empty platters of meat- or dairy-based foods, replace or wash the serving platter. Residual food particles that have been sitting at room temperature may contaminate the fresh food.
- Leave ready-to-eat foods containing eggs, meat and dairy products in the refrigerator until you serve them. This includes cream pies and cakes frosted with cream cheese or whipped topping.
- If you know that guests will be delayed, reserve some of the temperature-sensitive foods to serve when they arrive. Hold the hot foods in the oven and the cold foods in the refrigerator.
- When serving dips or dipping sauces, place a spoon near the serving bowl to discourage “double dipping.” This can help prevent contamination.
Find more safety tips for Holiday Foods.