Food safety tips for church dinners, potlucks, and family reunions

Mar 12, 2008 at 1:14 p.m. ET

A free US Department of Agriculture (USDA) booklet, Cooking for Groups: A Volunteer's Guide to Food Safety, provides easy to follow food safety tips to reduce the risk of foodborne illness at church dinners, potlucks, family reunions and holiday meals.


Guide to keep your meals safe

"Foodborne illness can spoil a party and even cause deaths," says Karen Blakeslee, Kansas State University Research and Extension food scientist. "The consumer food guide from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service is easy to use."

The guide provides safety tips for foods prepared at home and taken to a large gathering elsewhere. It also gives advice on preparing large-quantity recipes in a central kitchen.

The USDA guide covers planning and shopping for a group meal, storing and preparing foods, cooking foods to safe internal temperatures, transporting food safely, reheating food, keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold during serving, and storing leftovers safely.

The 38-page guide is available at Single copies of the guide are available by written request to the Federal Consumer Information Center, Item 604 H, Pueblo, Colo. 81009. The FCIC Web site ( also can process a single-guide order.

Additional information on food safety and health is available at county and district K-State Research and Extension offices and website: