ServSafe Food Manager Guide to Preventing a Halloween Nightmare

Vampires, goblins, zombies, the ghost under the bed and peanuts; Halloween is coming and these terrifying evils will be everywhere. We all love a good scare this time of year, but no costumed ghoul frightens parents more than hidden allergens in Halloween treats. Let’s do a ServSafe food manager review for allergens.

 ServSafe Food Manager Guide to Preventing a Halloween Nightmare

Image credit: Jill Anderson via Flickr

ServSafe Food Managers and Allergy-Safe Halloween Activities

Parents are picky when it comes to where their kids trick or treat.  Especially those parents with children with severe food allergies. Halloween is one of the biggest holidays for ServSafe food managers to attract children and families to their facilities.  Halloween parties are frequently held in school cafeterias or banquet halls. Our challenge is how can we make sure that we don’t inadvertently serve items which could cause a reaction? Here a few ideas:

  • Clearly identify potential allergens used in your facility
  • Provide an ingredient list for all treats
  • Serve only pre-packaged food from reliable sources

It helps to ease parent’s minds when they know what their kids are putting in their bodies. If you have food allergies, have kids with food allergies or know someone who does, then you probably have felt that sense of panic when someone you know could have a severe allergic reaction. The feeling is especially intense when ingesting something with unknown ingredients is possible. Knowledge and full disclosure help ensure little goblins choose allergen free Halloween snacks.

The first step should be to clearly post if your facility processes or uses common allergens such as peanuts, shellfish, wheat and dairy. Following this up with posted ingredients for each item served will allow parents to make good choices in finding allergen-free Halloween treats. You don’t necessarily have to give away all your recipes and baking secrets. Simply informing party attendees of ingredients used prevents accidental ingestion of allergens.

Finally, serving prepackaged Halloween treats from reliable sources with clearly labeled ingredients can be the safest way to host a Halloween event and minimize risk of guest coming into contact with allergens. We know that many restaurants and other outlets use Halloween to expose as many people as possible to their product or menu items, but sometimes playing it safe and providing prewrapped candy and allergen-safe Halloween treats will show parents that you’re looking out for their children’s health, and they may return to sample your cuisine another time.

Do you host Halloween events, and if so what steps do you, as a ServSafe Food Manager, take to serve items free from allergens?

For over 20 years Safe Food Training has been known as the # 1 provider of food manager certification in Minnesota. We offer both instructor lead and on-line food safety certification courses. Our instructor lead courses are regularly scheduled at several central Minnesota locations. If you have special training requirements, we can even customize ServSafe training for your group. Which ever option is best for you, we would be happy to serve your needs.

Leave a Reply