5 Lunch Box Food Safety Tips

by Josh
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Lunch Box: Whether you’re packing a lunch for the office or a lunch for the kids, you want to make sure you’re packing the right foods to prevent foodborne illness.

We chatted with Katie Morford, registered dietitian and author of Best Lunch Box Ever, to share her tips for safely packing lunches to keep everyone healthy and happy!

  1. Some foods just aren’t safe to pack for lunch.

“Avoid putting certain foods in your lunch box. If you make a traditional Caesar with raw egg yolks or are crazy about sushi with raw or undercooked fish, a packed lunch is not the place for it.”

  1. Maintain cleanliness while preparing lunch.

“Basic food safety precautions are especially important when food is packaged because bacteria can grow over time (as opposed to food that you prepare and eat right away, like when you eat at home). Being extra vigilant about washing hands, keeping surfaces clean and avoiding cross-contamination is key when it comes to preparing lunch.”

  1. Temperatures are important.

Keep cold foods as cold as possible and hot foods as warm as possible to stay closer to safe temperature zones for perishable foods. Invest in a thermos for hot food – preheat the thermos by first filling it with hot water for a few minutes, then placing hot food inside before sealing.

For cold foods, use frozen gel packs or freezer water bottles. Keep food in the refrigerator until the last minute before packing.

  1. Clean the containers thoroughly.

“I also think it’s essential to thoroughly wash and dry the lunch containers when they get home each day. Either a dishwasher or hot soapy water will do.”

  1. Dispose of perishables.

“Any unused perishable food should be thrown away at the end of the day. It’s painful to throw away that pristine turkey sandwich, but it’s not worth the risk when it’s been in your lunchbox all day.”

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