Food Safety for the Lunch Box
Is it the nausea, vomiting, cramping, fever, cold sweats, diarrhea, dehydration or overall bad feeling that comes with foodborne disease that is the worst? There is one thing that every parent would probably agree upon...nobody likes a food borne illness, especially in their child and especially if that forborne illness came from a parents own home.
What can a parent do to protect themselves and their children against food borne illness? A few easy precautions can reduce the risk of this nasty yet preventable disease.
The rule for staying cool is: Do not leave perishable foods out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. If your child does not have access to a refrigerator at school make sure and pack it in an insulated lunch bag or lunch box and include an ice pack or frozen beverage container.
Shortcuts should be skipped! Most parents make their child's lunch in the morning before school. Make sure to take the time to clean the counter surface in order to avoid last night's dinner contaminating the fresh lunch.
Start each day with a clean lunch box or lunch bag. Lunch boxes should be cleaned with warm soapy water after each use.
At home refrigerators should be properly set. If you are making a child's lunch the night before, make sure that the refrigerator is set below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have an older fridge or are just not sure what the temperature is invest in a refrigerator thermometer to keep tabs on how accurate your fridge is.
Shelf Stable is suitable for the lunchbox. Items such as whole fruit, single serve applesauce pouches or cups, cans of tuna, peanut butter, crackers, trail mix, granola bars, carrot and celery sticks are all considered shelf stable and healthy.
Washable and clean cut. Don't forget to wash all fruits and vegetables, even the ones that have peels to avoid cross contamination of bacteria that may have made contact with the peel.
Wash, wash and yes...wash those hands! Include a moist towelette or hand sanitizer in your child's lunchbox so they can wash their hands before eating. If they are able to wash their hands in the sink before lunch encourage them to sing "Happy Birthday" twice (about 20 seconds) while washing their hands.
The above tips were provided by Home Food Safety.org website.
Here are some great links to printouts for a house free from food borne illness:
Home Food Safety's The life of leftovers
Home Food Safety's Refrigerator and Freezer Food Safety Chart
Enjoy a happy and healthy lunch box! For more information visit www.HomeFoodSafety.org
"For helping spread the word about the importance of home food safety, I was entered into a drawing for a $15 Starbucks gift card and an iPad through Summertime Food Smarts, a contest run by the American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods' Home Food Safety program. Home Food Safety is dedicated to raising consumer awareness about the seriousness of foodborne illness and providing solutions for easily and safely handling foods. Learn more at www.homefoodsafety.org"