Halloween hazards and Food Safety

cobwebIs it just me, or has Halloween suddenly become more popular than ever this side of the pond? As kids we went ‘trick or treating’, much to the disapproval of my mother (“It’s the same as begging!” “It’s an American custom” etc.), but that was about it.

We also made the costumes ourselves. Mine was nearly always a black cat outfit consisting of a black leotard with a tail made from a black stocking, black tights, black pumps, a black hat with some cardboard ears and some whiskers drawn on my face with eye pencil. My brother dressed as a wizard with a home-made cardboard hat and a cape made from a black bin-liner covered with tinfoil stars (Eat your heart out Harry Potter Store!)

Getting into the Halloween spirit

Nowadays the clothes rails in the supermarkets are crammed full of potentially flammable costumes, the fruit and veg department is groaning under the weight of pumpkins and turnips, and there are various Halloween versions of cakes and sweets.

Even adults are getting in on the act with Halloween themed parties. Thankfully I haven’t been invited to one of these, since it would necessitate dressing up. The cat outfit of my youth won’t fit me anymore and I certainly don’t fancy wearing a ‘sexy witch’ costume I’ve seen advertised. I mean, since when was a witch sexy? They are supposed to be gnarly, warty, frightening old crones with hooked noses aren’t they? Anyway I digress – this blog post is supposed to be about food safety on Halloween…

Save treats for home

If your children are going out ‘trick or treating’ in the interests of food safety it would be advisable to tell them not to eat any of spidertheir treats before they get home. Then you will have the opportunity to inspect them.

You should proceed with caution with unwrapped goods. Remember, you don’t know what they contain, how they have been stored, or whether the person offering them has observed basic hygiene rules. For fruit, make sure that it has been thoroughly washed before allowing your kids to eat it.

Don’t forget the 2 hour rule

Another point to remember is the two hour rule. If your youngsters have been out for over two hours and their goodies contain food that would in normal circumstances be refrigerated, this should not be eaten either.

The two-hour rule of course also stands when it comes to Halloween party food. In addition, if hot food is served, it needs to have been cooked for the correct amount of time and should be piping hot – this also applies to re-heated food. Remember, food should be reheated only once.

Apple bobbing spreads germs

Apple bobbing might be fun, but when you think about it, it’s really unhygienic. Whether you’re dangling apples from a string and trying to bite into them, or attempting to get them out of a bowl of water with your teeth you are constantly spreading bacteria around.  There is therefore the potential to get anything from a mild cold to a severe bout of food poisoning.

If you take the above precautions, your Halloween can be scary for all the right reasons. Have a good one!

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