It’s school time. Both parents and students will return back to their daily task including preparation of school pack lunches. But do you know what are the food safety tips to follow while preparing food at home which are to be eaten at school later. Below are some useful suggestions:
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program specialist, Rebecca Dittmar, said food left at room temperature for few hours can result with risk for children of foodborne illness as the immune system of the younger ones are not sufficiently developed.
Take a look at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines that says if food is kept between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit will be in danger zone and the growth of bacteria can double up in about 20 minutes.
Dittmar says parents must store the lunchbox in refrigerator with lid open to help optimal air circulation in cooling down. In fact he urges to pack the lunch just moments before the child leaves for school.
If possible, freeze some of the foods meant for lunchbox. However, you must know that all the food cannot be stored like don’t put in the refrigerator the sandwiches containing mayonnaise, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes or onions. Keep these separately in the lunchbox so that your kid can put it on the sandwich before eating.
Try to use insulated lunch box. If not, a double paper bag will do. If you child has access to freeze in the school and if the lunchbox require refrigeration, ask him or her to put the box in the refrigerator immediately after reaching the school. Don’t forget to mark the child’s name clearly on the lunchbox.
Use a cold pack for perishable items like eggs, cheese, meats, milk and yogurt. You can keep the cold pack even in insulated lunch box or bag.
Use thermos for hot lunches. If not, use other insulated container for hot lunches if not thermos. You can also take this help. Put boil water into the container first and then let the water flow out after few minutes. Now put in the hot food inside it. This technique will help in keeping the contents warm until lunchtime.
Apart from all these, don’t forget to pack disposable wipes in the lunch box or lunch bag for better food hygiene reason. Educate the child to use it before and after eating food. Also, educated him or her to wash hand properly before eating.
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