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New Year's nosh can make latecomers sick

Dec. 31, 2007 at 11:35 AM

DALLAS, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Visiting the New Year's buffet too long after it has been set out can cause bad bellyaches, a U.S. clinical nutritionist warns.

Dr. Vickie Vaclavik, a clinical nutritionist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, advises that cream-based products, eggs, meats and milk naturally promote the growth of bacteria that can cause food-borne illness.

"If these categories of foods are to be left out -- either unrefrigerated or not held hot -- they may become unsafe to eat, Vaclavik said. "The host may use smaller, easily replaced batches, which should be discarded after a couple of hours, or the foods should be held at the right temperatures."

Vaclavik gave these tips:

-- Remember the two-hour rule. Foods should not sit unprotected at room temperature for more than two hours.

-- Replace platters for fresh food instead of adding fresh food to a dirtied dish.

-- Keep hot foods at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer, and cold foods at 40 degrees or colder.

-- Make sure to clean hands, work surfaces and utensils coming into contact with food.

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