You didn’t invite them, but BAC and his germy friends, the 10 Least Wanted Pathogens, might show up at your Halloween bash whether you like it or not. Your best defense against a food fright? Learn how to recognize these invisible fiends and fight them off!
- Scare BAC! (foodborne bacteria) away by keeping all perishable foods chilled until serving time. These include, for example, finger sandwiches, cheese platters, cut fruit or tossed salads, cold pasta dishes with meat, poultry, or seafood, and cream pies or cakes with whipped-cream and cream-cheese frostings. Cold temperatures help keep most frightful bacteria from multiplying.
- To keep store-bought party trays cold, fill lids with ice and place trays on top. Similarly, keep salads and other perishable items in bowls cold by nesting them in larger bowls of ice.
- Arrange food on several small platters. Refrigerate platters of food until it is time to serve, and rotate food platters within two hours.
- BAC! will creep up on you if you let foods sit out for too long. Don’t leave perishable goodies out for more than two hours at room temperature (1 hour in temperatures above 90°F).
- When whipping up Halloween treats, don’t taste dough and batters that contain uncooked eggs.
- Beware of spooky cider! Unpasteurized juice or cider can contain harmful bacteria such as E.coli O157:H7 and Salmonella. Serve pasteurized products at your Halloween party.
- Remind kids (and adults too!) to wash their hands before and after chowing down to help prevent foodborne illness.
Bobbing for Apples
Try a new spin on bobbing for apples. Cut out lots of apples from red construction paper. Write activities for kids to do on each apple, such as “say ABCs” or “do 5 jumping jacks”. Place a paper clip on each apple and put them in a large basket. Tie a magnet to a string or create a fishing pole with a dowel rod, magnet and yarn. Let the children take turn “bobbing” with their magnet and doing the activity written on their apple. Give children a fresh apple for participating in your food safe version of bobbing for apples.