Food safety tips for Halloween

Taking some preventative measures during Halloween festivities can help parents and children avoid foodborne illnesses.

Michigan State University Extension educators know Halloween is a fun and exciting time for children and families, but they advise that playing it safe with food and treats will help to avoid foodborne illness and the risk of consuming contaminated foods.

Children should eat a light meal or snack before trick-or-treating. This will help to avoid snacking while they are going door-to-door. Children should be reminded not to accept and/ or eat anything that is not commercially wrapped. Children should wait until they get home and an adult can check their candy before they eat it. It is important to check all treats for signs of tampering, unusual appearance or discoloration, and holes or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that has been open or torn. Also, throw away homemade treats, if not confident that it comes from a source you trust.

Here are alternatives to candy that can be healthier and easy to give away:

  • Packages of low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut butter
  • Packaged fruit leather
  • Mini boxes of raisins
  • Individual packages of hot chocolate mix
  • Individual packages of popcorn

Preparing food for a Halloween party should include the four simple steps of food safety:

  1. Clean – wash hands and surfaces often
  2. Separate – don’t cross contaminate (keep food separated and keep hands, utensils and food handling surfaces clean)
  3. Cook – cook to proper temperatures
  4. Chill – refrigerate promptly (refrigerate (or freeze) leftovers within 2 hours in clean shallow, covered containers)

Following these simple trick-or-treat safety tips and food safety guidelines will help make every Halloween fun and enjoyable for everyone.

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