August 1, 2021

Learn to Prepare Safe Lunches For Back to School By Following Rules

The USDA is helping parents learn to prepare safe lunches for back to school. Many schools are opening next week, so it’s time to start planning for what your child will eat.

Learn to Prepare Safe Lunches For Back to School

While cafeteria workers take food safety training classes, parents do not. So it’s important to learn the basic rules of safe food preparation: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

First, always wash your hands with soap and water before preparing food. Make sure the countertop is clean and that all of your utensils and surfaces are clean. Make sure to remind your children to wash their hands with soap and water before eating. And learn how to wash your hands correctly.

Always keep raw meats, poultry, eggs, and seafood away from foods that are eaten raw. Using a separate cutting board for raw meats and another for vegetables and fruits is a good idea. Different colors of the boards will help you keep them straight. Don’t store raw meats above vegetables in the fridge.

All raw meats, poultry, seafood, and eggs should be cooked to a safe final internal temperature. And you should use a reliable and accurate food thermometer every time you prepare these foods. Whole cuts of beef and pork should be cooked to 145°F. All ground beef and pork should reach 160°F. And all chicken and egg dishes should reach 165°F. Every time.

All perishable foods should be chilled as soon as possible after heating. Never leave perishable foods out at room temperature longer than two hours; if they have been out that long they should be thrown away. That means when you pack a lunch box, you should use an insulated box and pack a frozen gel pack or a frozen juice box or water bottle to keep foods out of the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F.

Now that you know how to prepare safe lunches have a great school year!

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