Thursday, December 12, 2013
SAFE HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING
This is the season for entertaining. But having a sizeable dinner party or even preparing snacks for a number of guests can be complicated these days. You have to consider everyone’s food preferences and allergies. Is someone vegetarian or vegan? Is one or more of your guests gluten or lactose intolerant? Is someone allergic to peanuts, or eggs, or shellfish or soy? And that’s not the end of it. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals) says you should keep high risk for food poisoning in mind as well. They’re right.
Here’s what they say:
“While you should always practice safe food handing, some guests might be particularly vulnerable to food poisoning, such as older adults, pregnant women, young children and people with weakened immune system.” If you have read The Safe Food Handbook (the book, not this blog), you’ll remember that the first section is called “Check your Food Risk Rating.” If you want to be a good host or hostess, that means you should keep in mind the food risk rating of your holiday guests as well – not just your own.
Of course, you could just expect everyone to avoid anything they shouldn’t eat. But your guests may not be aware of all the ingredients of a dish. Or, they may not know how you cooked it. Ideally, you should do what the spokesperson for the Academy suggests - avoid serving high-risk foods. The ones they specifically mention are raw or undercooked eggs, raw or unpasteurized dairy products, undercooked fish or shellfish, raw or rare meat and undercooked poultry. But, on that “don’t serve” list are also some of our most popular holiday dishes, like tiramisu, some other puddings, and, yes, eggnog.
To your good health,