Food at parties, fairs and festivals can be fun, tasty and displayed in creative ways. Events often times showcase that unique, amazing dish everyone drools over and begs for the recipe. Food is a very important part of social gatherings, weddings, concerts and sports games, but food poisoning can spoil the fun. Keeping food safe will avoid troubles after the confetti is all cleaned up and the ticket stubs are thrown away.
Celebrations of holidays, birthdays and home hosted events are the most questionable when it comes to food safety. Although the host has worked long and hard at creating special taste-bud teasers to please and impress, the food can sit out for hours collecting unwanted risks. The food is eaten, the ceremony or entertainment begins and the left-overs can sit until the wee hours of the morning unattended. Nibbling here and there throughout the evening on the last few crumbs of the cheese-ball or cream-puffs can leave guests with a belly-ache on their way home.
Proper food safety is often ignored at private parties and other events. The main culprit of food poisoning stems from faulty temperature control and mishandling of the delicious treats. Anything from meatballs to shrimp platters can cause ill effects if eaten after the prime time of feasting. Guests should be aware of their food intake and use common sense to protect themselves.
Hot foods need to stay at a temperature of 165 degrees and cold foods should be stored in the fridge for later consumption. Food poisoning after a special event sure ruins the memory of a good time, but can be avoided by both the host and helpful guests. Hosting a party not only brings the pressure of keeping everyone happy, but the responsibility of keeping everyone healthy and free from bad food.
Food vendors, street carts and church festivals run a huge risk with improper food handling and storage. Inspections are not always done in timely manners and customers and patrons should use caution before placing an order. Clean work stations, use of plastic gloves and overall appearance of the food preparation site can go a long way. One of the most problematic foods is soft-serve ice cream. The machine needs to be cleaned properly and often and the ice cream should be a fresh batch and refrigerated each day. Temperatures should range between 34 and 40 degrees at all times.
Fun times include good food, but consuming questionable food can cause mild to severe ailments. Headaches, fevers, nausea and vomiting can leave a guest dehydrated and ill for days, as the host issues a thousand apologies. Simple procedures can go a long way in protecting a host or event’s good name. Even after a party, hosts should only save left-overs no more than three days. The smell, appearance and taste may not change, as bacteria is a silent evil-doer.
Celebrations are special and meaningful with holiday food brimming with flavor and festive displays. Many times the last thing on someone’s mind is food safety. No fines or warrants for arrest will be issued if a guest gets sick, but the story will continue for years after a bad episode of food poisoning. When in doubt, throw it out. Eat, drink and be merry, but safety first is a good motto for a happy, healthy festive event.
By: Roanne H. FitzGibbon