If you answered Food borne illness you were right! According to the US Center for Disease Control and prevention 128,000 of the 15% of Americans that suffer from food borne illness end up in the hospital every year.
September is National Food safety month and a great time to review the basics and keep your home and lunch box safe. Here are 12 tips to keep the lunchbox and kitchen food borne illness free!
Top 6 tips to keep the kitchen healthy:
- Keep it clean- wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before food preparation, after handling raw meat, poultry and eggs and before you move to the next step in cooking. (Sing the ABC Song or click here for more fun song ideas)
- Always rinse fruits and vegetables before eating and peeling
- Cook meats to the proper temperature: Click here for the internal temperature chart.
- Wash your surfaces with soapy water after prepping meals.
- Avoid cross contamination, store raw foods below cooked foods, swap out grilling tools to avoid raw cross contamination.
- Thaw overnight or thaw in cold running water (do not let sit in a bath of water).
Top 6 tips to keep the lunchbox healthy:
- Pack 2 freezer packs if the lunch contains perishable foods such as meats, eggs or yogurt. Frozen water bottles or juice boxes, as well as freezing yogurt can be used to help keep the lunchbox within a safe temperature range. By lunchtime these items will be ready to eat or drink.
- Clean the lunch boxes often by wiping them down or tossing them in the washing machine.
- Pack lunches in an insulated lunchbox instead of paper bags (its better for the environment and it keeps foods safer).
- Throw away any leftover food and packaging after lunch is over. Do not reuse packaging unless it has been thoroughly washed.
- Pack the lunch the night before and keep in the refrigerator, this keeps the meal cooler longer and makes it easier during the morning rush.
- Wash your hands before you start meal preparation and make sure to tell kids to wash their hands before meal time.
Cheers to a healthy school year that is food borne illness free!
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