Lunch box safety

7 November 2015 | Clare Hughes

At Eat It To Beat It we often get questions from concerned parents about food safety in the lunch box- and rightly so.  Food poisoning is a very serious issue and as parents, the last thing we want is for our kids to be sick. One of the biggest concerns of parents is salmonella poisoning.

Salmonella is a bacterium found in the gut of food production animals, so salmonella food poisoning is usually linked to raw animal foods such as meat, poultry, milk and eggs.

However, plant based foods can also become contaminated through contact with salmonella infected animal foods.

But there are simple things that you can do to prevent contamination and food poisoning. Here are our top food safety tips, with thanks to the Food Safety Information Council: 

  • Store all meat, poultry, dairy, vegetables and salad in covered containers at or below 5ºC – check the temperature of your fridge regularly, and adjust it according to the weather and amount of food stored
  • Store raw meats and poultry at the bottom of the fridge so that juices don’t contaminate other foods on lower shelves
  • Vegetables and fruits which have been cut up can be stored in covered containers in the fridge for two to three days
  • Wash whole fruits and vegetables under running water before using them
  • Meat and poultry should be cooked through until they reach 75ºC and served hot at above 60ºC
  • Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in covered containers as soon as possible and use within two to three days
  • Pack an ice brick in your child’s lunch box. While it is nowhere near as cold as a refrigerator – it will help keep it as cool as possible before lunch time.
  • Defrost frozen food in the fridge, not on the bench.

Parents are right to be concerned about food poisoning but with simple food safety practices, keeping you and your family safe is simple.

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