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Trick-or-Treating Food Safety Tips

With the COVID-19 pandemic still lingering, Ellen Shumaker, extension associate and Director of Outreach for Safe Plates at NC State University, sat down with The Abstract to discuss what trick-or-treating may look like this year and which foods to steer clear of.

When trick-or-treating this year, “it’s really up to each person to decide their level of comfort with differing levels of risk,” Shumaker said. “As we know COVID-19 is primarily transmitted person-to-person, so with trick-or-treating, that comes with gathering in the streets and going up to houses – so that’s what I see as the biggest risk.”

For immunocompromised individuals, Shumaker suggests leaving candy bowls outside the door to avoid the person-to-person interaction.

As far as candy goes, Shumaker says the chance of COVID-19 being transmitted from the package to the individual is fairly low so she does not find it necessary to wipe down candies after receiving them. She points out that sanitizing wipes could actually pose a chemical hazard to children.

“With packaged candy and you’re thinking about how long it stays good, you’re really looking at the quality of the product not the safety because it has such a high sugar content and it’s packaged,” Shumaker says.

Another tip: Make sure to look at each piece of candy to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with.

Lastly, Shumaker urges trick-or-treaters to wash their hands often – especially before eating or drinking.

To watch Ellen’s interview, click here.

To listen to The Abstract’s podcast with Ellen, click here.

This post was originally published in NC State News.