July 15, 2024

Back to School Lunch Safety Tips for Parents

The USDA is offering back to school safety tips for parents. Children are at high risk of contracting food poisoning because their immune systems are still developing. Children under the age of 5 have the highest incidence of Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter infections of any age group in this country.

Lunchbox2The four food safety tips of Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill must be followed in the kitchen. USDA recommends that before school starts, parents and kids try a food safety experiment to ensure that home-packed lunches are safe to eat. Pack the lunch and store it as they would at school. After the normal time between packing and lunch time has passed, test the temperature of the food.

Cold items should be below 40°F and hot items should be above 140°F. Any foods in between those two temperatures are not safe to eat and should be discarded.

There are several steps you can take to ensure that your child’s lunch is safe. If the meal contains perishable foods such as meat, eggs, or yogurt, use at least two completely frozen freezer packs in each insulted lunch box. Frozen juice boxes or frozen water bottles can also be used as freezer packs. Always pack lunches in an insulated lunch box or bag. A paper bag is not safe.

If possible, all perishable food, including that packaged in insulated bags, should be stored in a refrigerator. If a refrigerator is available, leave the lid of the box or bag open so cold air can circulate freely. If packing a hot lunch, use an insulated container to keep it hot. Fill the container with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, empty, then add the hot food.

After lunch, all leftover food should be discarded. An insulted lunch box cannot cool food back down to a safe temperature; it can only maintain temperature. Do not reuse packaging because it could contain traces of foods that could contaminate other foods. If you pack your child’s lunch the night before, leave it in the refrigerator, open, overnight. Then add the frozen packs in the morning to keep the food safe.

Report Your Food Poisoning Case

Error: Contact form not found.


Home About Site Map Contact Us Sponsored by Pritzker Hageman, P.A., a Minneapolis, MN law firm that helps food poisoning victims nationally.