|Script: Halloween or Costume Festivals and Food Safety
Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety at home podcast
series. These podcasts were designed with you in mind - the consumer - who purchases and
prepares meat, poultry and processed meat, egg products for your family and friends.
Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging from safe storage, handling,
and preparation of meat, poultry and processed egg products to the importance of keeping foods
safe during a power outage.
So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Welcome to ďFood Safety at Home.Ē This is Kathy Bernard with the Food Safety and Inspection
Service. Iím your host for this segment. With me today is Felicia Thompson, Public Affairs
Specialist with FSISí Food Safety Education Staff. Felicia and I will share some useful food
safety tips to practice during Halloween or costume festivals.
Hello Felicia, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Kathy, Iím glad to be here.
People are already planning their Halloween parties and costume festivals. It is a very
exiting day for kids of all ages! But it can turn into a spooky occasion if we donít practice
Youíre right Kathy! Last year, I went to a Halloween party, where they had a lot of food out
on the table. I ate a fair amount of food and had a good time, but I stayed up all night; not
because of scary ghost or goblins, but because I got a foodborne illness.
Iím sorry to hear that. What kind of symptoms were you having?
I had diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and chills. Fortunately, I felt better by morning and didnít
need to visit the hospital. But it helped me understand how important it is to handle food
Well, Felicia, at least you stayed upbeat under the circumstances.
Itís important to handle and prepare food safely in order to keep our friends and family safe
from horrible and scary bacteria. This year, when planning a Halloween party or costume
festival, always follow the four simple steps of the Be Food Safe Campaign: Clean, Separate,
Cook, and Chill. To keep your food safe, wash your hands and surfaces frequently; separate raw
meat, poultry, and egg products from food that will not be cooked, and cook food to a safe
internal temperature. Donít forget to check it with a food thermometer.
Finally, chill leftovers promptly.
Chilling promptly means that we canít leave food out on the table for a long time. Right
Thatís right! Little monsters, like harmful bacteria can grow rapidly in perishable food at
temperatures between forty and one hundred and forty degrees Fahrenheit. We call this the
ďDanger Zone.Ē Discard food left sitting in the ďDanger ZoneĒ for more than two hours (or one
hour if the temperature is above ninety degrees Fahrenheit).
Now, letís talk about keeping food safe on the buffet table.
Just remember to keep hot food hot, using a heat source, such as chafing dishes, preheated
steam tables, warming trays and/or slow cookers. Keep cold foods cold, using containers with
ice. Also, when dishes are empty or nearly empty, replace them with fresh containers of food
to avoid leaving food out for long periods of time.
Those are great tips to keep our superheroes and aliens safe from foodborne illness during
this time of the year.
Do you have any more tips for our trick-or-treaters?
Remember to wash your hands with warm water and soap before eating all your treats.
Where can our listeners find more food safety information?
They can visit the FSIS virtual representative, Ask Karen, which can answer food safety
questions 24/7, at askKaren.gov.
In addition, food safety fact sheets are available on the FSIS Webs site at:
They may also call the toll-free USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline, at one, eight, eight, eight,
MPHotline (1-888- MPHotline). Thatís 1-888-674-6854.
Thatís it for this week. Thank you, Felicia for helping me provide food safety tips for
Halloween and costume festivals.
This is Kathy Bernard from FSISí Food Safety Education Staff and Iíd like to thank our
listeners for joining us for this episode of ďFood Safety at Home.Ē And remember, ďBe Food
Well, thatís all for this time. Thanks for joining us today
for another episode of food safety at home!
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free
meat and poultry hotline at 1-888-mphotline. Thatís
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our
virtual representative "ask karen" at
Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your
comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for tuning in.
Last Modified: October 28, 2009