Packing 'Safe' Lunches for your Children

By Kristen Tripodi

Published 08/21 2014 06:04PM

Updated 08/21 2014 06:10PM

BURLINGTON, Vt. - School is almost back in session and as you pack your children's lunches experts say take extra precaution to keep the food from going bad.

According the USDA the safe temperatures for cold food items is below 40 degrees and for hot items it's above 140 degrees. So to keep your children from contracting foodborne illnesses extra steps should be taken to keep foods from dipping into that 'danger zone'. Experts say using frozen ice packs or thermoses are especially important to keep the food safe to eat.

"We think about clean surfaces like counter tops and cutting boards and our hands. Lunch boxes are exposed day after day after day to the leftovers that the children don't eat so washing them out with soap and water at the end of every day is a really good idea,” said Linda Berlin, a UVM Assistant Professor in Nutrition and Food Sciences.

Experts say if you are worried about the lunches staying cold or hot there are many 'safer' foods to pack.

Peanut butter and jelly, fresh fruits and veggies, and any pre-packaged foods are safe bets because they won't go bad as quickly.

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