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 Food Safety at Home. This is Kathy Bernard with the Food Safety and Inspection Service. Im your host for this segment. With me today is Felicia Thompson, Public Affairs Specialist with FSIS 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, Im 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 dont practice food safety.
Youre 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.
Im 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 didnt need to visit the hospital. But it helped me understand how important it is to handle food safely.
Well, Felicia, at least you stayed upbeat under the circumstances.
Its 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. Dont forget to check it with a food thermometer.
Finally, chill leftovers promptly.
Chilling promptly means that we cant leave food out on the table for a long time. Right Kathy?
Thats 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 Danger Zone. Discard food left sitting in the Danger Zone for more than two hours (or one hour if the temperature is above ninety degrees Fahrenheit).
Now, lets 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
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). Thats 1-888-674-6854.
Thats it for this week. Thank you, Felicia for helping me provide food safety tips for Halloween and costume festivals.
This is Kathy Bernard from FSIS Food Safety Education Staff and Id like to thank our listeners for joining us for this episode of Food Safety at Home. And remember, Be Food Safe.
Well, thats 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. Thats 1-888-674-6854.
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
Thanks for tuning in.