Everyone loves to eat and drink during the holiday season. "But some holiday foods can be very dangerous and can even kill," warns Debra Holtzman, and here are her tips for keeping the holiday safer for everyone.
- –Eggnog: Buy eggnog in the carton, store-sold product is pasteurized and is safe. If you make your own eggnog, use only -pasteurized eggs and not raw eggs or gradually heat the egg-milk mixture to 160 degrees F.
- –Pies: Refrigerate custard-type pies, including homemade lemon meringue varieties and pumpkin pie, if stored at room temperature, they can grow dangerous bacteria.
- –Candy canes: Hard candies and candy canes present a choking risk to small children. Keep out of reach of small children.
- –Cookie dough and cake batter: If you use raw eggs in the batter, avoid the temptation to sample them uncooked. Raw eggs can be contaminated with salmonella.
- –Apple Cider or juice: Fresh juices and ciders commonly sold at roadside stands, country fairs and juice bars are unpasteurized. Pasteurization kills bacteria, so if you aren’t sure if a product is pasteurized, boil it for a minute says Holtzman.
- –Caesar salad: Many homemade recipes call for raw eggs in Caesar salad. Do not use raw eggs in the dressing. Use a pasteurized egg instead.
- –Perishable foods: After two hours, refrigerate perishable foods such as raw and cooked meat, poultry and seafood products, it is safest to also limit the time that cut fruits and vegetables are at room temperature.
- –Alcohol: Alcohol affects children more drastically than adults, so even small amounts of alcohol can be dangerous to children, and don’t forget about the mouthwash you have sitting on your bathroom counter. Many brands contain up to 27 percent alcohol.
Bonus Tip: Chocolate: Pet lovers beware, chocolate is toxic, and sometimes even fatal to animals. The toxic substance which chocolate contains is called theobromine, a compound which is very similar to caffeine. Baker’s chocolate (pure, unsweetened chocolate or cocoa powder) is the most dangerous.