Researchers Identify Foods That Could Spoil Mardi Gras … Literally

Cold Cans On Ice Inside A Cooler
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NEW ORLEANS – Food scientists at the University of Holy Cross recently tested fried chicken, ham and cheese sandwiches, jambalaya, onion dip, dairy-based daiquiris and an ice chest full of beer to learn more about foodborne bacteria on popular parade-side food items. 

To complete the study, food and the ice chest samples left at room temperature were checked every two hours for a maximum of eight hours to check for foodborne bacteria and pathogen growth. Researchers were surprised to see that when it came to the food, only the ham and cheese sandwiches showed significant growth after eight hours. 

Of all the items tested, meanwhile, researchers found that the ice chest with canned beer was the most unsanitary even after just two hours of hands reaching in to grab a drink.

“Next time you reach for that ice cold beer on the parade route, you may want to think twice after picking it up and sanitize your hands and make sure you thoroughly clean your cooler after a long day of parades,” said UHC Food Science Program Director Dr. Darryl Holiday. “And while we found most of the food to not show major bacterial growth after being left at room temperature for eight hours, we still recommend storing everything in cold storage as best as possible.” 

UHC’s Food Science Program works with local food suppliers and manufacturers throughout the New Orleans area, state, and national markets.

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