Avoid a Foodborne Illness
Nightmare this Halloween with Helpful Tips from Stop Foodborne Illness
is right around the corner. Pick up those finishing touch decorations,
plan parties, finalize costumes and most importantly, brush up on
proper food safety practices to prevent foodborne illness this year.
Illness , a national, nonprofit, public health organization
dedicated to preventing illness and death from foodborne pathogens,
wants people to be aware of the dangers that can arise from food during
the Halloween season. Educating yourself and your children is the
easiest way to reduce the risk this holiday season. Whether you are
going trick-or-treating or hosting a Halloween party, make sure you
leave the scares to the dressed-up ghouls and goblins.
is a fun activity, but it can potentially be a serious health hazard.
Before heading out with the kids or sending them off on their own,
remind them how important it is to be aware of the treats they are
receiving. Check out Stop’s quick tips for practicing easy food safety
Avoid homemade goodies from people you don’t know. The Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention recommends avoiding
eating homemade treats made by strangers since there is no way to
ensure the person preparing them followed proper food safety
procedure. Although everyone loves a good brownie or caramel
apple, the best way to stay safe is to stay away.
snacking urge. Make sure everyone’s had a light meal or
snack before hitting the neighborhood streets. It is always
tempting to enjoy a piece—or two— of the sweet haul while walking
to the next house, but Stop urges trick-or-treaters to wait until
they return home and can check that all treats are properly
wrapped before eating.
Wash your hands. Proper
handwashing is always important in preventing the
spread of dangerous pathogens but is even more important during
this holiday. Between trick-or-treating and school Halloween
parties, a lot of packaged candy passes from different hands,
increasing the chances of contracting foodborne illness. Make sure
kids are washing their hands before digging into their Halloween
Hosting a Halloween party
for friends and family? Let the ghosts in but say boo to bacteria. Stop
Foodborne Illness has a few guidelines for entertaining your guests for
a fun and safe night.
Beware of spooky cider! Unpasteurized
juice or cider can contain harmful bacteria such
as Salmonella . To stay safe, always serve pasteurized
products at your parties. Any dish or drink with fresh fruit—or
veggies—must be thoroughly washed before being served.
Prevent the spread of bacteria by keeping
all perishable foods chilled until serving time.
Bacteria creeps up when foods sit out too long. Don’t leave
goodies—like finger sandwiches, cheese platters, fruit, salads,
cold pasta dishes, Jell-O treats, store bought deli trays and
cream pies or cakes with whipped-cream and cream-cheese
frostings—out of the fridge for more than two hours (1 hour in
temperatures above 90°F).
Plan safe entertainment. Bobbing for apples is a classic
Halloween game but having multiple people touching the same apples
over and over again can present significant food safety risks.
Reduce the number of bacteria that might be present by thoroughly
rinsing apples under cool running water and using a produce brush
to remove surface dirt. Or, give the traditional game a modern
update : Cut out “apples” from red construction paper
and write activities for kid—or funny dares for an older crowd—on
each one. Place a paper clip on each apple and put them in a large
basket. Tie a magnet to a string and let guests take turns
“bobbing” with their magnet.