Parents who pack lunches for their school-bound children must take steps to ensure that those kids aren’t going to be exposed to foodborne illness. All it takes is for a lunch to be set out for a minute too long for an illness to be incurred, and given children’s propensity to share and trade lunch items, that illness could affect more than just your child. To avoid such a dilemma, consider some of the tips from the Institute of Food Technologists.
Verify that the lunchbox is sufficiently clean before you pack it up. Although the temptation will be to simply repack, a thorough rinsing with soap and water is needed to remove any bacteria that may have set in since your child finished his or her meal. The same goes for cold packs and utensils that were packed with the lunch.
Disposable paper bags are a possibility for parents worried about cleaning every day, but they don’t maintain internal temperature the same way that a lunchbox would. It is acceptable to use sandwich bags that can be tossed out, but know that these types of items should not be used multiple times.
Avoiding perishable foods is an option for parents hoping to hedge their bets against foodborne illness. But when perishables are involved, a cold pack is an absolute necessity and the perishable items should be kept in a refrigerator until they’re deposited within the lunchbox.