Back to school time for students means school lunch packing time for many parents. Cathy Isom has some tips to make sure that lunch you send with your child is safe. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
It’s unclear how many kids get sick from food in school lunches that are brought from home, that parents packed for them. But we do know that one in six
Americans will get some sort of food-related illness this year.
“And since children are at higher risk for food poisoning we want to take special care with packing their lunches to make sure that they don’t get sick.”
USDA Food Safety Expert Marianne Gravely says the key is to keep everything cold from the time you pack it until your kids eat it hours later. It only takes two hours at room temperature for a tiny amount of bacteria to grow enough in a perishable food to make that food unsafe. She says wash hands and work surfaces well before preparing that food – also..
“Make sure you pack your child’s chicken fingers or sandwich separately from fruit or snacks.”
So any bacteria from one of them doesn’t hope over to the other. She also recommends investing in an insulated lunch box or bag to help keep things colder, longer, safer.
Whether it’s off to school or work, millions of Americans carry “bag” lunches. Food brought from home can be kept safe if it is first handled and cooked properly. Then, perishable food must be kept cold while commuting via bus, bicycle, on foot, in a car, or on the subway. After arriving at school or work, perishable food must be kept cold until lunchtime.
- Why keep food cold?
- Begin with Safe Food
- Keep Everything Clean
- Don’t Cross-Contaminate
- Packing Lunches
- Keeping Cold Lunches Cold
- Keeping Hot Lunches Hot
- Microwave Cooking/Reheating