As kids head back to school, the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) is advising parents and guardians to follow some recommendations while safely preparing and packaging lunch boxes.
“Eating a healthy lunch is key for the development of our children. Observing safety guidelines during the meal preparation and when packing their lunch boxes can save their lives. Let’s keep our students safe from food borne illness organisms that could be hiding in their lunches”, said Richard Simms, DEH Director.
Here are some tips prepared by the Food Safety team.
Packing a safe lunch as kids return to school:
• Pack lunch in the morning. Not from the night before.
• Use insulated lunch boxes to keep food at a safe temperature until lunch time.
• When packing a hot lunch, use an insulated container to keep it hot.
• Make sure that chill foods are below 5°C or 40°F before packing into lunch boxes.
• Frozen containers of juice/water or ice packs can be used to keep food cold until lunch time.
Observing the four steps to food safety while preparing their lunch for school:
- CLEAN surfaces, utensils and wash hands with soap and water before handling food.
- SEPARATE. Don’t cross contaminate. Make sure you keep ready-to-eat food and raw foods separated during preparation and storage.
- COOK foods to the right temperature (above 82 °C or 180°F) to kill harmful bacteria.
Use insulated containers to keep it hot.
- Make sure CHILL foods are kept below 5°C or 40°F before packing into lunch boxes.
For more information, please contact the DEH’s Food Hygiene Safety Section at 949-6696.