Back-To-School Lunches


I always get asked questions on children’s school lunches. Parents ask if lunches are not refrigerated, how can they be safe? It is true that most of us attended school and didn’t have insulated lunch boxes or ice gel packs and did not become ill. However, there are some steps to take that will help reduce the risk of food poisoning and provide a safe lunch. When preparing sandwiches, use either frozen bread or refrigerate the night before. Otherwise, pack with cold drinks or an ice pack in an insulated lunch box and that will keep food cool enough until lunch time. Remind children to throw away perishable leftovers and recycle packaging when possible. Use individual containers and don’t re-use food packaging as this increases the risk of cross-contamination. As allergies are an increasing concern with children, any re-used packaging could contain an allergen, eg. peanut butter, which can be placed onto another food, eg. cheese causing an allergic reaction. With school about to begin in September, this is a good time to check lunch preparation techniques to ensure safety. Insulated bottles can also be used to keep hot food out of the temperature danger zone. Fill the bottle first with boiling water, empty and fill with the hot food. Wash all fruits and vegetables with tap water and then dry with paper towel before adding to the lunch box. School lunches safety prepared will help children start back to school on the right track.


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ENVIRO-FOOD CONSULTING is a foodservice consulting business run by Sally de la Rue Browne, Certified Public Health Inspector and Food Safety Specialist.

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