Tricks (and treats) for Halloween food safety
It's that time of year again when kids' minds turn to free candy and scary costumes. But it doesn't have to be a night of fright and scares. Here are a few ways to keep kids safe this Halloween.
- Before sending your kids out on the town, be sure to feed them first to keep your little monsters from snacking between houses.
- Make sure to let your kids know that they shouldn't eat any candy until you've taken a good, close look at it.
- When you're going over the loot with your kids, make sure to check every piece for discoloration, tiny pinholes or tears in wrappers. Toss anything that doesn't look right.
- Kids should only accept candy that's commercially wrapped, which means packaged by machine or a food company. Never let them accept anything that looks hand-wrapped.
- Remove anything that might choke small children such as gum, small toys, peanuts or hard candies.
If you're throwing a spooky party for the kids at home, here are a few pointers to help keep it safe and healthy.
- Keep all perishable food chilled until it's time to serve. Things like dips, cheese, fruit, salads and cold pasta are best kept cold to keep bacteria from growing.
- Don't leave perishable food at room temperature for more than two hours. Pull a dish and throw it away immediately.
- Never serve raw cookie dough or cake batter. These run the risk of giving your guests salmonella or other foodborne illnesses.
- If the kids are bobbing for apples or you're serving other raw fruits and vegetables, wash them off using cool, running water and a produce brush to clean off dirt and get rid of bacterial growth.
- Make sure all juice and cider have been pasteurized or treated to remove bacteria. Look for this information on the label.
And as always, be sure to have children brush their teeth after they dig into their sweet treats.
Take the scare out of Halloween with these helpful hints, and your ghouls and ghosts will be sure to have a safe and happy night of fright.