Prevent foodborne illnesses when packing lunch
Experts say two of the most important Back-to-School items you can buy are an insulated lunch box and something to keep your child’s lunch cold.
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Before you send your student off to school with their bagged lunch, USDA experts say you want to make sure it’s packed properly.
More often than not, lunchboxes may sit around for hours until its time for kids to eat. Experts say two of the most important Back-to-School items you can buy are an insulated lunch box and something to keep your child’s lunch cold. Temperatures between 40° F and 140° F where bacteria can multiply quickly and cause illness.
USDA Food Safety Expert Karen Hunter says two cold sources are best to prevent foodborne illnesses.
“One of those can be a re-freezable gel pack that you can use every day,” said Hunter. “A second option is to freeze their juice box or water bottle and put that in in the morning. That way by the time lunchtime comes around that beverage is ready to drink but it’s also served the purpose of keeping those lunch contents below 40-degrees Fahrenheit.”
When preparing lunch, you should also make sure to keep hands and surfaces clean to avoid cross-contamination. This includes wiping down your utensils, countertops, and cutting boards.
Experts also recommend talking with your student and remind them to not open up their insulated bag before lunchtime and letting them know some items need to stay cold.
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