It is the time of year to be selecting treats for your trick-or-treaters and party guests. Make sure your foods are treats not tricks. Help your guests avoid food poisoning by following simple rules.
First, select individually wrapped items for trick-or-treaters. Always check to see that packages are intact with no visible signs of tampering or signs of exposure to moisture that may result in contamination of the product.
Second, CLEAN. Before you begin preparing your party food, make sure utensils, dishes, cutting boards and other items you may use are washed with soap and hot water or washed in the dishwasher. If your dishwasher does not have a sanitizing cycle, then you can sanitize by soaking items for at least one minute in a mixture of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach per gallon of cool water.
Clean kitchen countertops and surfaces where you will prepare food by washing with soap and hot water, rinsing well and applying the sanitizer solution with a paper towel or with a spray bottle.
Always wash your hands before and after handling food.
Separate raw foods like meats, poultry, fish and eggs that require cooking to be safe from foods that are ready to eat.
Cook foods at least until they reach the minimum recommended internal temperature to be safe from harmful microbes that could cause illness. Use a food thermometer to tell when foods are safely cooked. Keep these foods hot for serving, at or above 140 F.
Chill out. Keep cold foods cold for serving. Do not leave foods that need to be kept refrigerated to be safe in the temperature danger zone, between 40 and 140, for more than 2 hours. Divide these foods into several small dishes for serving rather than one large platter. Keep refrigerated until a new dish is needed.
So, when you hear them say, “trick or treat”, give them something safe to eat.