Advice on safe school lunches

The Department of Environmental Health reminds parents about the importance of following good food-safety practices when preparing children’s school lunches to avoid illness.

“It is important to keep our children safe from food-borne illness by following the recommended safety guidelines,” DEH Food Safety Officer Gideon Simms said in a press release.

At home

Keep the kitchen’s food-preparation areas clean. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and warm water before handling food.

Clean your cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops with hot water, and a sanitizer or antibacterial soap.

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Do not let pets jump up on kitchen counters.

After making lunch, promptly refrigerate perishable foods.

The lunch box

Pack lunch in the morning, not the night before. Make sure that cold foods are cold before packing them.

Insulated lunch boxes are the best way to keep food at a safe temperature until it is time to eat. Sandwiches made with refrigerated items such as luncheon meats, cheese and tuna salad should be carried in an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack. Pack a frozen juice box or an ice pack in the lunch box, to help cold food stay cold.

Keep hot foods hot. In the morning, bring food to a boil and then pour it into a hot, clean vacuum bottle.

At school

Instruct children to store their lunch boxes in a cool place and out of direct sunlight.

Place dairy products such as milk and yogurt into a refrigerator.

Instruct children to always wash their hands before eating.

For more information, call DEH at 949-6696 or visit

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