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Halloween Candy Doesn't Last Forever
November 1, 2010

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Don't hang on to that Halloween candy too long, a food safety expert says, because it might go bad.

In a recent news release, an American university has urged parents to not hide Halloween candy too long because of concerns that the candy will outlive its shelf life and could lose its taste and, in some cases, lead to illness. (Some people have been known to have suffered salmonella poisoning after they consumed chocolate that was long past its use-by date.) In some cases, candy's shelf life is just two weeks.

Hard candy doesn't deteriorate or lose its flavor for perhaps years, the news release said, but chocolate and more "disposable" sweets can certainly start to lose color, taste funny and, if left too long, be possibly hazardous to people's health.

Less seriously, there's the problem of chocolate getting too much heat. If chocolate or soft candies are left long enough, they can congeal into a sort of goo, which might be useful on top of ice cream but might not be anything resembling the original candy.

Basically, the food experts say, parents have two choices: store the the candy in a cool, dry, and dark place and make sure it gets eaten relatively soon; or let the kids have at it on Halloween night and the first few days thereafter. (A third option, of throwing the candy away, probably wouldn't be too popular with the children who worked hard dressing up in costumes and tramping from door to door to "earn" that candy.)

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