The state Department for Public Health offers these food safety tips to help you have a safe Halloween:
- Avoid having children snack while they’re out trick-or-treating so you can inspect the contents of their treat bag. Give children a light meal or snack before they go out trick-or-treating to help prevent them from snacking.
- Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as unusual appearance, discoloration, tiny pinholes or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.
- Discard fruit and homemade treats unless you personally know their source and make sure that all fresh fruit is washed prior to eating. When in doubt, throw it out. Parents of very young children should also remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys.
Follow these tips for Halloween parties at home:
- If juice or cider is served to children at parties, make sure the juice is pasteurized or otherwise treated to destroy harmful bacteria. Juice or cider that has not been treated will state this on the label.
- Don’t taste raw cookie dough or cake batter.
- Before going bobbing for apples, reduce the number of bacteria that might be present on apples and other raw fruits and vegetables by thoroughly rinsing them under cool running water. As an added precaution, use a produce brush to remove surface dirt.
- Keep all perishable foods chilled until serving time, including cut melons, finger sandwiches, cheese platters, tossed salads, cold pasta dishes with meat, poultry or seafood and cream pies or cakes with whipped cream and cream cheese frostings. Don’t leave these foods out at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Remind children to wash their hands before eating to prevent foodborne illness.
- Remember some children have food allergies, so make sure that treats with peanuts or other nuts are clearly identified.
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services Food Safety Branch can answer questions about food safety; it's at (502) 564-7181.