DEH urges lunchbox safety

| 09/11/2010

(CNS): Department of Environmental Health (DEH) staffers are reminding parents that when it comes to preparing school lunches it is vital to follow good food-safety practices to help prevent their children from catching food-borne illnesses. These include keeping food-preparation areas clean, washing hands with antibacterial soap and warm water before handling food, cleaning cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops with hot water and a sanitizer or antibacterial soap. The DEH also advises against allowing pets to jump on kitchen counters, and reminds parents to return perishable foods, like cheese, deli meats and mayonnaise, to the refrigerator promptly after preparing lunch.

“We can do much to keep our children safe from food-borne illnesses if we only observe the following safety guidelines,” advised DEH Senior Food Safety Officer Gideon Simms:

The DEH says to pack lunch in the morning, not the previous night, to ensure that cold foods are cold before packing them in a lunchbox, keep food in insulated lunchboxes at a safe temperature until it’s time to eat. They also advise using icepacks for sandwiches made with items such as luncheon meats, cheese and tuna salad so they will be safe to eat, even after two to three hours outside of a refrigerator. Pack a frozen juice box or an ice pack in the lunchbox to help cold food stay cold. Keep hot foods hot, such as soups or stews. In the morning, bring to a boil and then pour into a hot, clean vacuum bottle (bottles can be disinfected with boiling water). Use food within the recommended ‘use-by’ dates.

At school tell your kids to store lunchboxes in a cool place, out of direct sunlight, place dairy products such as milk and yogurt inside a refrigerator, and remind them to always wash hands before eating and never to eat food that tastes or smells ‘funny’.

Lunch foods that can be eaten at room temperature include peanut butter, jams and jellies, breads, crackers and cereals, washed fruits and vegetables, dried meats such as beef jerky, and baked products such as cookies and cakes. Canned meat or poultry products can also be eaten immediately after opening.

For more information on food safety, please contact DEH at 949-6696.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Health

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.