Lunch 101: Tips for packing safe meals this school year


As the school year starts, it is a good time to review how to keep your family’s lunches safe from foodborne pathogens. Many lunch foods can allow for the growth of harmful bacteria such as salmonella, campylobacter, listeria monocytogenes and E. coli, which can multiply rapidly when food is held at temperatures of 40 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. When food is kept within this temperature “danger zone” for longer than two hours, it can become unsafe and must be discarded. However, there are steps you can take to pack healthy lunch items and keep food safe during the day.

Lunch bags

Insulated lunch bags or boxes can help keep your perishable food cold. Some bags have built-in cooling packs. These types of bags are placed in the freezer in the evening so that the built-in packs are frozen and ready to keep food cold by the next morning.

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