According to the USDA, an estimated 48 million cases of foodborne illness occur annually.
For many of us, back-to-school season means preparing lunches to send with our children. Even if you don’t have to pack lunches for school, many adults pack lunch for themselves to take to work. When refrigeration isn’t available, use these ideas to help keep those packed lunches safe.
- Wash hands and food preparation surfaces before preparing food.
- Invest in a well-insulated lunch bag and quality thermos: wash them each day.
- Only pack perishable items that are either hot or cold – never both in the same lunch box. For instance, if you include a thermos of well heated soup, make it a point to pack side dishes that require no refrigeration.
- Wash ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables prior to packing – even those that have an inedible peel such as bananas and oranges.
- Encourage your children to wash or sanitize their hands prior to eating.
- Discard perishable leftovers – they don’t make good afternoon snacks.
- Include more nutritious but non-perishable food options such as whole or dried fruits, whole grain mini-bagels or crackers, nuts and seeds, packages of baby carrots, peanut butter, etc.