People bring “bag” lunches to school and work for a variety of reasons—some for cost savings, while others for healthier choices. The safety and handling of the foods that they put in these bags is not always considered.
Here are some tips to help keep people safe when bringing in a bagged lunch:
- Provide at least two cold sources if lunches will contain perishable foods like meat, cheese and yogurt.
- Frozen juice boxes or frozen water bottles act as freezer packs and can help keep foods cold.
- Use an insulated bag or box instead of a paper bag.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds directly before eating.
- Keep the lunch in the refrigerator if possible.
- Pack just the amount of perishable food that can be eaten, do not save leftovers.
- For hot foods, such as soup and chili, fill an insulated thermos with boiling water, let stand a few minutes, and then pour it out before putting in the steaming hot food.
- When using a microwave to heat up foods, heat the food to at least 165 F.
- After lunch, discard all leftover food, used food packages and paper bags. Do not reuse packaging since it may contaminate other food.
It is estimated that there are 42,000 cases of salmonella each year in America, in which 50% of those are stricken with this illness are infants and school-age children. Approximately one in six Americans will experience food poisoning each year.
For more information, visit this page provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.