September 14, 2011 11:11 by Nina
Often times, parents sending their children to school with homemade lunches overlook the fact that they may go unrefrigerated for several hours. That’s why foodborne illness stemmed from homemade lunches is becoming an increasing concern.
Although there are no exact statistics on the number of students sickened by lunches brought from home, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts one in six Americans will be sickened by food poisoning this year.
Here are some tips to send your children to school with a safe and healthy school lunch:
Avoid Perishable Food Items
Because not all students can refrigerate or keep their food warm on the school bus and the hours leading up to lunch time, some say avoiding foods meant to be kept hot and cold altogether will eliminate the risk of bacterial growth.
Use Insulated Lunch Boxes or Thermoses
For lunches that do contain perishable food items, sending your children to school with an insulated lunch box will keep them as cool – or warm, as possible. Ice packs kept well insulated will keep foods cold. Or, freeze juice boxes or water bottles ahead of time to cool the rest of the lunch.
Practice Cleanly Food Preparation Techniques
Keeping refrigerated foods cold directly from the store shelves should help foods retain their freshness. Of course, washing hands thoroughly before meal preparation is also paramount.
To learn more about these and more tips on sending kids to school with a safe lunch, click here.