It’s time to take a crash course on food safety for lunchboxes as the school year begins. This study guide will help you pack safe lunches.
Clean – In a USDA study, 97% of test kitchen participants did not properly wash their hands. This hand washing cheatsheet can be used before, during, and after food preparation and eating to earn an A+.
Wash your hands with warm, running water. Turn off the water supply and then apply soap.
Use soap to lather your hands. Use soap to lather your hands between your fingers, under your nails, and on the backs.
For at least 20 seconds, scrub your hands.
Wash your hands with clean, running water.
Use a towel to dry your hands.
Cutting boards – Avoid cross-contamination when cooking. One cutting board is used for raw meats, while another is for vegetables, fruits, or ready-to-eat food.
Packing lunch – Keep perishable foods such as deli meats in an enclosed lunchbox with a cold source like a frozen gel pack or water bottle. Place your lunch in the refrigerator after you have packed it for the next day. Reusable plastic bags and another packaging should not be reused as they can cause food contamination.
Caution – Perishable foods must be kept at room temperature for two hours as bacteria that can cause food poisoning grows fastest between 40 and 140 degrees F. Foods exposed to temperatures higher than 90 degrees F (such as a hot car) can be left out for up to an hour. To ensure safety, never taste food. If in doubt, throw it away. There may be substituted teachers, but there is no substitute for food safety.