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Cooking for Groups A Volunteer's Guide to Food Savvy Consumer: Cooking for Groups - A Volunteer's Guide to Food Safety
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Cooking for Groups
A Volunteer’s Guide to Food Safety

United States Department of Agriculture
Food Safety and Inspection Service

March 2001


Foodborne Illness: What You Need To Know
   What Is Foodborne Illness?
   How Bacteria Get in Food
   In Case of Suspected Foodborne Illness
Fight BAC! ™
When You Plan
When You Shop
When You Store Food
When You Prepare Food
When You Cook
Internal Cooking Temperatures
Danger Zone
When You Chill Food
When You Transport Food
When You Reheat Food
When You Keep Food Hot
When You Keep Food Cold
When You Serve Food
   Keep It Cold
   Keep It Hot
When You Finish Up
Cold Storage Chart
Foods Purchased Refrigerated
Shelf- Stable Storage Chart
Additional Resources


The goal of this brochure is to help volunteers prepare and serve food safely for large groups such as family reunions, church dinners, and community gatherings. This food may be prepared at the volunteer’s home and brought to the event, or prepared and served at the gathering.

The information provided in this publication was developed as a guide for consumers who are preparing food for large groups.

For additional information, and to ensure that all state regulations or recommendations for food preparation and service are followed, please contact your local or state health department.

Food service personnel should be aware that this guide was prepared for consumer use only. The information provided in this guide does not reflect recommendations in the FDA Food Code, or your state’s food code. Food service personnel should contact their local or state health department for information on the rules and regulations governing the preparation of food in retail or institutional settings.

Food that is mishandled can cause very serious consequences for all, especially infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. For this reason it is important that volunteers be especially careful when preparing and serving food to large groups.

United States Department of Agriculture

The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720- 2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326- W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D. C. 20250- 9410 or call (202) 720- 5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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