Volume 7, Issue 2
Back to School
The new school year means “Back to School” is right around the corner and it is back to packing lunches and after-school snacks for students. One ‘back’ you do not want to reacquaint children with is bacteria. Bacteria that cause foodborne illness, commonly known as food poisoning, grow quickly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacteria can multiply to dangerous levels in just hours, which can cause foodborne illness. To ensure lunches and snacks are safe, follow the four food safety steps: Clean – wash hands and surfaces often. Separate – don’t cross-contaminate by keeping meat, poultry, and eggs from all other foods. Cook – cook all food to the right temperature. Chill – refrigerate all perishable foods promptly.
- If the lunch/snack contains perishable food items like luncheon meats, eggs, cheese, or yogurt, ensure you pack it with at least two cold sources. Harmful bacteria multiply rapidly so perishable food transported without an ice source won’t stay safe long.
- Frozen juice boxes or water can also be used as freezer packs. Freeze these items overnight
and use with at least one other freezer pack. By lunchtime, the liquids should be thawed and ready to drink.
- Pack lunches containing perishable food in an insulated lunchbox or soft-sided lunch bag. Perishable food can be unsafe by lunchtime if packed in a paper bag.
- If packing a hot lunch, like soup, chili or stew, use an insulated container to keep it hot. Fill the container with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, empty, and then put in the hot food. Tell children to keep the insulated container closed until lunchtime to keep the food hot.
- If packing a child’s lunch the night before, leave it in the refrigerator overnight. The meal will stay cold longer because everything will be refrigerator temperature when it is placed in the lunchbox.
- If you’re responsible for packing snacks for the team, troop, or group, keep perishable foods in a cooler with ice or cold packs until snack time. Pack snacks in individual bags or containers, rather than having children share food from one serving dish.
For more information regarding back to school food safety please visit Foodsafety.gov.
Fall Celebrations- Stay Healthy!
Fall is upon us and we often celebrate by engaging in pumpkin carvings, costume parties, cooking, or trick-or-treating with family and friends. Make sure you protect yourself and your family against unwanted bacteria to enjoy all of the fall festivities.
Follow these simple suggestions to help your children, family and friends have bacteria free fall celebrations:
- Inspect your child’s candy before they begin to snack on it.
- Do not eat any homemade treats made by strangers.
- Look for any signs of tampering in candy wrappers; if you find them, throw them out immediately.
- Remove items from any candy goodie bags that might cause a choking hazard, such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys.
- If juice or cider is served at gatherings, make sure it is pasteurized or otherwise treated to destroy harmful bacteria. Untreated juice or cider will have a label indicating that it was not pasteurized or otherwise treated.
- As tempting as it is, do not taste raw cookie dough or cake batter.
- If you are hosting or attending a party, make sure foods are not left at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Cold temperatures help keep most harmful bacteria from multiplying.
- Chill finger foods, such as sandwiches, cheese platters, salads or cakes.
- During potlucks, refrigerate platters of food until it is time to serve, and rotate platters within 2 hours.