Thursday, October 25, 2012
Keeping School Lunches Safe
As a parent, you’d likely never send your little ones out on a cold morning without a sweater or jacket. You’re probably also careful to make sure they’re buckled up before you pull out of the driveway. Yet, there’s another danger your children face as they go off to school every day that many parents aren’t even aware of. It’s the safety of the foods in your children’s lunch box!
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Under Secretary for Food Safety, “Packing lunches to take to school and after school snacking are vulnerable to the top two causes of food borne illness: Not keeping perishable food cold and not cooking or reheating food to a high enough temperature to destroy any germs that may be present.
The USDA offers many tips to help parents and children better guard against food borne illness. First there’s the fundamental rule: follow good hand hygiene practices by washing hands before preparing food and eating. Keep the area where you prepare your child’s meal clean, as many germs lurk there and can contaminate food that will be eaten later. Use freezer get packs or frozen juice carton to keep perishable food such as luncheon meats, cheese and condiments cold until they’re ready to be eaten.
Don’t forget to pack an encouraging little note in the lunchbox, too!