Keeping Lunchtime Safe

This year, an estimated 48 million Americans will suffer from foodborne illness. That’s 1 in every 6 people. One common source of infection is the bagged or boxed lunch. To help prevent what the USDA calls a serious public health threat, here are six top tips for keeping your food safe.

If you’re packing meats, eggs, yogurt or other perishable food, use at least two freezer packs. Harmful bacteria grow rapidly between 40 and 140 degrees fahrenheit. Juice boxes can provide another option: freeze some juice boxes overnight to use with at least one freezer pack. The frozen juice boxes will thaw by lunchtime.

If there’s a refrigerator at school or work, find a space for your lunch. Remove the lid or open the bag so the cold air can circulate better.

Use an insulated, soft-sided lunch bag instead of a paper bag. Perishable food can spoil more quickly in a paper bag.

For a hot lunch like soup, use an insulated container. Make sure the container remains tightly closed until lunchtime.

And finally, throw out all leftover food, used packaging and paper bags.

I’m Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV your source for ideas to protect your health.