Back-to-School season is upon us. Kids are headed off to school with backpacks (and lunch boxes!) for a new year of learning. In order to keep food safe to eat throughout the day, there are some guidelines that should be followed. It is important to keep food out of the “danger zone” to control bacteria. Harmful bacteria thrive in temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees F. So, perishable food that is toted to school needs to be kept piping hot in a Thermos or cold in a lunch bag until lunchtime or snack time. Here are some tips to avoid consuming unsafe food:
Make Sure Everything is Clean
- Before preparing lunches, make sure hands are washed with warm soapy water.
- Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with hot soapy water.
- For households with animals, they should never be allowed on kitchen counters (sorry, cats!)
- Be mindful of cross-contamination when preparing food. Use separate cutting boards, utensils, and surfaces for meat and produce.
- Be sure to thoroughly wash produce before preparing.
- Keep lunch boxes clean - when they get home, wipe them down with warm, soapy water; rinse clean; dry thoroughly.
- Produce and countertops can be cleaned with CitroBio for extra protection.
Keep Cold Foods Cold and Hot Foods Hot
- Prepare food well in advance to allow for it to chill below 40 degrees F in the fridge.
- Per the USDA, perishable food needs to be taken to in a lunch bag with at least two cold sources, such as two frozen gel packs, or a frozen gel pack and a frozen drink, etc.
- Use an insulated lunch box or bag. There are now lunch boxes that have built-in cooling gel, and can be refrozen over and over again. These are great for kids (or adults!) who have a tendency to accidentally throw away gel packs.
- When taking hot foods for lunch, fill a Thermos with boiling water, let it stand for a few minutes to absorb the heat, then put in steaming hot food. Don’t open the food til lunchtime to make sure it stays above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
We hope you have a safe, terrific school year. Visit our products page to learn more about how CitroBio can keep you and your family food safe. CitroBio helps reduce Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, and other harmful pathogens in food and on surfaces.