Lunch Box Safety
Keep food preparation areas in the kitchen clean. Wash counter tops, cutting boards, utensils and your hands in hot, soapy water. And don't let the family pet jump up on kitchen counters.
- After preparing lunches, remember to immediately return unused portions of perishable foods, like cheeses, deli meats and mayonnaise, to the refrigerator. Don't let them sit out on the counter.
- Make sure that cold foods are cold before packing them in a lunch box. If possible, prepare the lunch the night before and store it in the refrigerator. (This also takes the edge off the mad morning rush!)
- Insulated lunch bags or boxes are the best way to keep food at a safe temperature until . Nestle a frozen juice pouch or ice pack inside and sandwiches will stay extra cool.
- At school, instruct the kids to store their lunch box out of direct sunlight and away from radiators or other heaters if possible.
- Sandwiches made with refrigerated items such as luncheon meats, cheese and tuna salad should be carried in an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack. That way they should be safe to eat after 2 to 3 hours un -refrigerated.
- Keep hot foods, like soups, stews or chilies, hot. In the morning, bring the food to a boil and then immediately pour into a hot, sterile vacuum bottle. (Sterilize the vacuum bottle with boiling water.)
- Lunch foods that can be eaten at room temperature include:
- Peanut butter
- Jams and jellies
- Breads, crackers, cereals
- Clean fruits and vegetables
- Dried meats, such as beef jerky
- Baked products, such as cookies and cakes
- Canned meat or poultry products that are eaten immediately after opening