Thursday, May 23, 2013
Keep Kids' Lunches Cool Until They're Ready To Eat
According to a new study, most brown bag lunches are not stored at the proper temperature, which means that sandwich could get your child sick.
ANCHORAGE—As a new school year begins, you may want to think twice about how you're packing your kids' lunches. According to a new study reported in the journal, Pediatrics, most bag lunches are not packed at the right temperature.
According to the study, more than 95 percent of veggies, meats and dairy products in kids' lunches are way too warm by the time kids are ready to eat.
“It is very important to make sure that cold foods stay cold during the morning until lunch time,” said Diane Peck, who is the state’s community and evaluation specialist.
So, how can you keep food at the right temperatures without getting your kids sick and make sure the lunch is still nutritious?
Experts say it's as simple as following the food guidelines recommend by the Choose My Plate program, which shows how much fruit, grains and protein should be included. You can find all these items in the store—everything from carrots to cheese, and even the juice box, which can also be used as an insulator to keep your kids’ food at the right temperature.
“It’s maintained at 41 degrees or below,” said Nancy Fuller, the Anchorage School District’s microbiologist, of the temperature school cafeterias maintain for the 20,000 meals they serve every day.
Fuller also said food servers work in four-hour time spans to keep the bacteria out.
“Most of the time the temperature outside is below freezing so we don't really have any issues with food being too warm,” Fuller said.
Experts say food should not be left out for more than two hours, and should be kept as cold as if it was stored in a refrigerator at 40 degrees or below.