Big holiday spreads can hold nasty dangers.
The last thing you want at a holiday party is a bunch of uninvited guests, including bacteria.
While you're mingling food that's left out on a buffet table for hours has plenty of time to turn ugly.
Chef Robert Brener is an instructor at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina.
He says you may want to avoid heavy mayo- and egg-based dishes.
"Keep it light," he advises. "Whole fruits, whole nuts, whole seeds, whole vegetables."
Other food experts agree.
"The best foods to go on your buffet table are your healthier options. The foods you need to be careful with are gonna be your meats, dairies and cheeses," says Vanderbilt University's Liz Aleman.
It's not just the food that's potentially problematic, especially if you've invited a double dipper to the party.
Scientists at Clemson University say double dipping three to six times can transfer as many as 10,000 bacteria from the mouth to the bowl.
Salsa picks up the most bacteria because it tends to be runny, spreading germs more easily throughout the bowl.
Experts say that for the most part if you can keep hot things hot and cold foods on ice you should have the makings for a great and bacteria-free party.