Food Safety Patrol
Thrown in a locker, stuffed in a backpack or stashed under a desk for several hours, sandwiches and other lunch foods can linger in the bacteria-friendly room temperature “danger zone” between 40 and 140 degrees for too long.
Researchers at the University of Texas in Austin found that 95% of packed lunches in a recent study were at an unsafe temperature. That’s why insulated lunch bags and boxes -- many with a space to add an ice pack -- get an “A” from food safety experts.
Dietitian Jo-Ann Heslin author of the nutrition counter series for Pocket Books suggests you start thinking ‘cool’ the night before, “If you pack lunch in the morning, chill the lunchbox in the refrigerator overnight. If you pack lunch at night, put the food in the lunchbox and refrigerate both overnight. This helps keep all foods cooler longer.”
A thermos can keep hot soups hot, but it can keep salads cool, too, so they’re still crisp and cold at lunchtime.
Note: Perishable foods can sit in the danger zone for up to 2 hours before the lunch becomes risky.
Since fast food restaurants succeed in attracting attention to their childrens’ menus with toys and prizes, perhaps two can play at this game. Nissenberg suggests, “Don't forget to add a character napkin for fun or maybe an inspiring note or fun message. It will bring along a smile during lunch.”