Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Boo! Halloween Food Safety Tips

What the Queen is Wearing This Halloween!
Halloween Food Safety Tips for Parents from the Funloving Folks at the FDA!

Uncle Sam, who will probably dress up as Uncle Sam again has this wise advice to keep the nation safe from pesky pests and other threats to food (candy) safety this Halloween.
Halloween Children shouldn’t snack while they’re out trick-or-treating. (Sure!)
Urge your children to wait until they get home and you have had a chance to inspect the contents of their “goody bags.” (Best to bribe or threaten them.)
Tell children not to accept – and especially not to eat – anything that isn’t commercially wrapped.
Parents of very young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys. (They want large toys anyway or iTunes cards.)
Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. ( Who are your new neighbors? )
Throw away anything that looks suspicious (Such as candies made from tofu)
And follow these tips for Halloween parties at home.
If juice or cider is served to children at Halloween parties, make sure it is pasteurized or otherwise treated to destroy harmful bacteria. ( I don't care if the 'natural' stuff looked good on the road side stand.)
Juice or cider that has not been treated will say so on the label. (Watch out for older kids or wild neighbors trying to "spike" the cider.)
No matter how tempting, don't taste raw cookie dough or cake batter. (Don't trust anyone who actually bakes their own cookies or cakes, anyway.)
Before going "bobbing for apples," an all-time favorite Halloween game, 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. ( No one said this Halloween party was going to be easy.)
"Scare" bacteria away by keeping all perishable foods chilled until serving time. These include, for example, finger sandwiches, cheese platters, fruit or tossed salads, cold pasta dishes with meat, poultry, or seafood, and cream pies or cakes with whipped-cream and cream-cheese frostings. ( And the same goes for that scary buffet you serve the kids wearing blindfolds such as peeled grape eyeballs and cold spaghetti guts.)
Cold temperatures help keep most harmful bacteria from multiplying. And don't leave the food at room temperature for more than two-hours. (They will be eating candy by then anyway.)
Trick or Treating Nutrition Tips: What's in Your Bag?
1. Make sure the little goblins have something "real" to eat before they head out on Trick-or-Treat candy grabbing mission. Even if you only have time for them to drink a glass of milk, that's a good base for early trick or treaters. Make it chocolate milk for Halloween fun. It contains a little more sugar but delivers the same 9 essential nutritients as white milk.
2. Go for the "fun packs" of candies, ie. portion controlled packages often limited to 100 calories. It's a good way to teach kids about proper amount of candy to eat in one sitting.
3. Brush your fangs! Candy caught in crevices can cause cavities. Sticky, gummy candies are the worst at getting stuck in between teeth. Chocolate has actually been shown to help curb cavities because it helps balance out acids in the mouth that eat into the tooth's enamel. But, brush your teeth!


Roberta Schwartz Wennik, MS, RD www.advantagediets.com said...

What happened to the "good old days" when kids could actually go to people's homes and get cookies, hot cocoa and cider? This whole safety issue speaks horribly of where society as a whole has come. It's the same thing that happens with the internet and hackers. Someone gets a vicarious thrill out of knowing someone is suffering at his or her hand. The honest part of society has to work doubly hard, pay more money to stay safe. I'm sorry but this is a sad treatise on our society.

One suggestion for Halloween treats - it doesn't have to be candy. Go to the Dollar Store for puzzles, stickers, pretty pencils. When your child gets something like this, hype it up. Make it seem more special than the candy. They'll still want the candy that's true. But you've now put value on something else besides sweets. Maybe in a year or two your children will begin to look forward to something different than candy for a treat.

hrgottlieb said...

If you have an interest in selling cookies or cookie dough for a fundraiser there is a website called Easy Fundraising Ideas that has about 10 different Cookie Dough Fundraising programs and they don't cost anything to start.