Taking a chance at potluck?

Let’s not beat around the vegie burger – potluck lunches are a much-loved institution of Adventist churches everywhere.

However, they are not always great for one’s…ahem…constitution. Sometimes the tummy trouble an hour or two post-feast can adversely affect Sabbath afternoon lay activities, well into Sunday. Yes, we’re talking about food poisoning.

Here are our top tips for ensuring your potluck doesn’t give anyone more than just a free lunch.

  1. If you’re sick with a stomach bug, flu or gastrointestinal virus DO NOT COOK FOOD FOR ANYONE! If you don’t bother reading the rest of this article, please just remember this point.
  2. Keep cold food cold. Keep hot food hot.
  3. Do not leave food sitting out for more than 2 hours. If there are leftovers, it may be tempting to store the food so it’s not wasted, but consider all the hands that have taken part. Odds are the buffet will have been tainted somehow. Even though it seems wasteful it’s often best to throw it out.
  4. If a platter is near empty, replace it with a fresh platter rather than add more food to it.
  5. As is always recommended, wash hands before preparing and eating food.
  6. Tie back long hair when preparing or serving food.

To glove or not to glove?
We get this question from time to time. Surprisingly, the Food Standards Code does not require food handlers to wear gloves. If, however, a food handler has a cut hand with a bandaid covering the wound then wearing gloves is recommended.

Wearing gloves comes with further responsibilities as they need to be changed regularly. Gloves must be removed, discarded and replaced in the following circumstances:

  • After handling raw food
  • After using the toilet, smoking, coughing, sneezing, using a handkerchief, eating, drinking or touching the hair, scalp, face or body.

So it is up to you, and what your church catering committee feels most comfortable with. You can read more about safe food handling here.