Producers who also prepare and/or sell foods at pow wows are responsible for keeping food safe. Since policy varies, check with your tribal or local sanitation or health department to know food-handling and temperature requirements.

This video about keeping food safe at pow wows was produced by the USDA and shot at pow wows with a Native perspective. It focuses on six concerns:

  1. Keep hot foods hot: at or above 135 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent growth of food-borne bacteria. Use thermometer in cooked food. Prepare foods on site; avoid cooking at home then transporting, reheating and serving.
  2. Keep cold foods cold – at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Customers expect food cold, not lukewarm. Have fresh ice, and good storage for food stands.
  3. Hand-washing practices: wash hands with soap before and after using the restroom, after eating/smoking, after coughing or blowing nose, after handling or cleaning.
  4. Utensils and contact surfaces. Utensils can be stored in food with handle above rim. Use separate utensils for each item; clean after each task. Use gloves and tongs when serving. Keep serving/eating areas clean and avoid cross-contamination.
  5. Purchasing foods from approved sources – purchase from sources that have been inspected and comply with local, state, federal law. Keep raw meat separate from cooked foods. Traditional food such as tripe should be purchased from the store, already processed and cleaned.
  6. Food storage – store in designated areas and rotated so that the oldest product is used first. Store raw meat, poultry and fish separate. Don’t overload cold storage, place refrigerators and freezers in shaded areas.

For more details and other advice, watch the video online