BOO! Here it comes again, the official (unofficial) holiday of Halloween! There is no doubt, it is beloved by children and adults alike. The costumes, decorations and freaky/fun tricks and treats are wickedly delightful for those who participate before colder weather changes activity opportunities. To ensure it is fun for everyone, set expectations – your goblins and ghouls should know the food safety rules ahead of time to set the stage for happy smiles versus scowls and howls. Here are some ‘tricks” for caregivers hoping for a howling good time!
- Eat before treat – some great Halloween treat ideas to set the stage are right here (with spooky music!) on Price Chopper YouTube and Pinterest boards. That will make it easier to create the plan that parents/guardians must check items before eating. We have treats for adults too – pumpkin everything and fall favorites to fuel your fun is right here!
- Children should be taught – only to accept treats that are commercially wrapped. Throw away anything that is torn, has pinholes, or looks unusual in any way. Fresh fruit, if accepted, should be carefully checked and washed before eating.
- If your child has a food allergy, you already know that treats are tricky. Verify Epi-pens are not expired and are readily available. Always check the labels of each item. Some homes may have a teal-colored pumpkin to signal they have some treats without some allergens, but adults must still check the individual items before eating. The same goes for gluten free candy – The Celiac Disease Foundation has published their 2023 Gluten Free Halloween Candy list – you can download and print the pdf here.
- Ages and stages – some candies are choking hazards for smaller children. Gum, hard candies, peanuts and even small toys could be a concern. Check treats are appropriate and stay present while they are enjoyed.
- Managing added sugars at Halloween doesn’t have to be tricky! How much and how often should be part of the plan and discussed ahead of time to keep the howls to a minimum. A national poll shows 78% of parents plan for about two pieces of candy per day. That helps children learn candy can be part of eating well. In 2017, the Partnership for a Healthier America and the National Confectioners Association partnered to help with portion control and front-of-pack labeling, resulting in over 90% of candy and chocolates labeled to help your goblins and ghouls enjoy treats. Learn more at here.
- Enjoy the Halloween season – Top 10 ways to celebrate Halloween!
- Flashlights, candy, party supplies and more are all at our stores waiting for you to create a “monster” good time. Happy Halloween!
BWAH HA HA HAAAAA!!!!!!!
We are always on the lookout for information and resources that can make life better, so we are kicking off National Food Safety Week with some more food safety tips, hacks, and helpers! June 7th is World Food Safety Day, and many organizations will be beating the drum to elevate food safety practices that help you and your family stay safe while enjoying great food!
Tip – Wash hands before handling food and while preparing raw foods.
Hack – My favorite reminder about washing hands came from a restaurant sign. The rest room sign we all know “Employees must wash hands before returning to work” was in place, and next to it was another sign that read “Wash your hands like you just cut up jalapenos and have to put your contacts in.” Effective!
Helper – A hand soap dispenser by each sink in your home makes it quick and easy to scrub up! Find dispensers and refills in the personal sanitation section of the store.
Tip – Wash fresh produce before preparing or eating. Our store teams handle produce with care, and you will benefit when you make it routine to wash fresh produce every time you pack it as a snack or chop it for a recipe.
Hack – Write “wash hands and produce” into those recipes you share with children, friends and family. That helps everyone learn and pass on food safety as part of their usual prep routine.
Helper – Find soft-bristled produce scrubbers in the kitchen section of your store!
Tip – Keep raw and cooked meat separate from each other and keep protein foods like meat and seafood separate from produce when prepping.
Hack – Prep words to live by – “Keep it simple and separate – 1 cutting board and 1 knife per food item.”
Helper – You can find color-coded cutting boards and kitchen knives in the kitchenware section of the store.
Make every day food safety day!
The Big Game is here once again! Each year, this football game brings fans, family, and friends together to cheer on their team and enjoy festive foods that score big on flavor and tradition. Did you know? U.S. households will eat an estimated 1.4 billion chicken wings on Sunday! Even if you are only there for the half-time show, you are bound to find something to crunch and munch. The surprise play you don’t want to watch? Any issues with food safety that can knock your event off the go-to list. Keep bacteria on the bench with some fresh tips and resources to ensure your party is positioned to win!
Make sure someone (adult) is home to get the delivery*, check temperatures (danger zone is 40 – 140 degrees/2 hours) and packaging to be sure nothing is tampered with or left at an unsafe temperature for any length of time.
*Notify the company if you suspect tampering or that perishable food was left out too long. Don’t eat the food, or even taste it to see if it is safe.
Cook, Serve or Save
Time your order and serve delivered prepared foods when you receive it. If you are not serving right away, follow storage directions and refrigerate or freeze items until you are ready to cook them.
Keeping best practices for winning at food safety every day in mind as you plan and set up your event. Check your food thermometer to be sure it is working or purchase a new one. Wash hands, counters, cutting boards and serving utensils. Repeat washing hands as different foods are handled or prepared. Have plastic bags and storage containers ready to use so putting foods away is easy and quick.
- Clean— When handling raw meat and poultry, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and clean and sanitize surfaces often with soap, water and a sanitizer.
- Separate— Don’t cross-contaminate. Use separate cutting boards, plates and utensils to avoid cross-contamination between raw meat or poultry and foods that are ready-to-eat.
- Cook— Cook to proper internal temperatures, checking with a food thermometer.
- Chill— Refrigerate promptly and do not leave food out at room temperature for over two hours.
Set up the buffet so hot foods, like wings, can be kept hot, and cold foods, like deli wraps and salads, can be kept cold. Slow cookers and chafing dishes are good choices for the range of snacks and appetizers that may require heat to maintain enjoyment and safety. A tray with ice or ice packs is good for cool foods, unless your location is very warm. Consider keeping perishable foods out for two hours or less – then get them properly stored to minimize food waste.
The game is over, leftovers are packed away, and the kitchen/buffet is clean and ready for the next meal. Leftovers can be kept refrigerated for 3 to 4 days or frozen up to 3 months. To serve safely, reheat to an internal temperature of 165 F.
Odds are you will share happy pictures (or sad, depending on which team won) of your party with friends and family via text and social media. Should anyone that attended let you know that they became ill after the event, next steps would be to ensure they get medical attention immediately and get some guidance from your local health agency. It can happen to anyone, even when best practices are strictly managed. You cannot see, taste, or smell harmful bacteria. Some guests, especially young children and those older than 65, may be more vulnerable to exposure. Reporting foodborne illness is critical to keeping food safe for everyone.
If you or a family member experience symptoms of a serious foodborne illness, seek medical attention and contact your local health agency.
The CDC public health gateway can help you locate your local health agency.
Questions? Try these toll-free federal food safety hotlines. For meat, poultry, or pasteurized egg products, call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). For all other food products, call FDA’s Food and Cosmetic Information Center at 1-888-SAFEFOOD (1-888-723-3366).
Keep Your Food and Family Safe This Summer!After a long winter and cool spring, temperatures are finally warming up making everyone eager for outdoor picnics and barbecues. While these temperatures are ideal for that, they also provide a perfect environment for bacteria and other pathogens in food to multiply rapidly and cause foodborne illness. You can help prevent harmful bacteria from making your family sick by avoiding the “Danger Zone” and following the “Core Four”. The Danger Zone: temperature range between 40°F and 140°F
- Keep food out of this range as foodborne bacteria can grow rapidly to dangerous levels that can result in illness
- Always keep cold food COLD, at or below 40°F, in coolers or in containers with ice or frozen gel packs
- Keep hot foods HOT, at or above 140°F, on the grill or in insulated containers, heated chafing dishes, warming trays or slow cookers
- Reheat foods to 165°F
- Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food
- Clean kitchen surfaces, dishes and utensils with hot water and soap
- Have one cutting board for produce and another one for meat, poultry and seafood
- Use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked foods
- Wash plates, utensils, and cutting boards that held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs before reusing
- Marinate in the refrigerator and not on the counter keeping raw meat/poultry separate from any veggies you might be using
- If you plan to reuse the marinade as a sauce be sure to boil it first to destroy any harmful bacteria or make extra to set aside before adding raw meat/poultry
- Cook: Cook to safe internal temperatures
- Use a food thermometer to ensure food is thoroughly cooked
- Whole cuts of meat (steaks, chops and roasts) – 145°F with a 3 minute rest time
- Ground beef, pork, lamb and veal- 160°F
- Poultry, including ground poultry- 165°F
- Fish – 145°F
- Leftovers – 165°F
- Refrigerate perishable food within one hour in hot weather (above 90°F) and within two hours if temperatures are below 90°F
- Place leftover foods in shallow containers for quick cooling