5 Tips to packing a food safe lunch box to send to school or office. Food Safe Campaign has some good reminders for you.

What do you do with the kids school lunch boxes when they come home each day? I unpack them, wipe them out with a disinfectant wipe or hot soapy washcloth, let air dry and leave it open until the next morning when it's time to pack lunches.

I also take out the containers and run them through the dishwasher. There are too many germs lurking in that dark damp lunch box. In the morning along with the food I put a hand wipe and napkin in there so the kids wipe their hands before eating.
 

5 tips for packing your families lunch box:

Tip #1: If the lunch you’re packing contains perishable food items like cold cut meats, eggs and yogurt, make sure to pack it with freezer packs or keep it otherwise chilled.  Harmful bacteria multiply rapidly in the "Danger Zone" — the temperatures between 40 and 140 °F (4.4 °C and 60 °C). So, perishable food transported without an ice source won't stay safe long.

Tip #2: Frozen juice boxes can also be used as freezer packs. Freeze juice boxes overnight and use as freezer packs. By lunchtime, the juice should be thawed and ready to drink

Tip #3: Pack lunches in an insulated, soft-sided lunch bag. Lunches with perishable food items can be unsafe to eat by lunchtime if packed in an old-fashioned brown paper bag
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Tip #4: If there is a refrigerator at school, tell your child to keep their lunch inside. But leave the lid of the lunchbox or bag open so that cold air can better circulate and keep the food cold.

Tip #5:  After lunch, discard all leftover food, used food packaging, and paper bags. Do not reuse packaging because it could contaminate other food and cause foodborne illness.



Stay on track of your back to school routine of packing a healthy lunch. Now that holiday parties, and get together are filling up our calendar, keep your family healthy and food safe with these helpful reminders and information from Food Safety.

Check out How to Pack a Safe & Satisfying School Lunch by Food Safe Campaign (Ad Council, USDA, HHS) on Snapguide. This is a guide with nice photos, and a supply list for the lunchbox like ice blocks, cutting board etc.

Got a question about food safety? “Ask Karen,”  is an online database with nearly 1,500 answers to specific questions related to preventing foodborne illnesses, in both English and Spanish, or to call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline.