Lunch Box: Food safety 101

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    1. Hygiene

    Basic food safety becomes even more important when food is being packed away and stored for lunches. Simple steps like washing your hands before touching food, and using separate chopping boards for meat/poultry and vegetables can prevent cross-contamination. Remember to wash your containers daily (inside and out) with hot soapy water to prevent bacteria growth!

    2. Food safety tips

    The food danger zone, or the temperature at which bacteria grows best, is between 5˚C–60˚C. Storing perishable foods in the danger zone creates ideal conditions for the growth of harmful bacteria. Make sure foods are only stored at these ‘danger zone temperatures’ for less than two hours to minimise the risk of foodborne illness.

    3. Keep it cool

    Lunches containing meat, dairy or other perishable foods must be kept as cold as possible until lunch. Insulated lunchboxes, including lunch bags, can help to keep food cool for up to eight hours. Adding an icepack to your lunchbox can extend this, and can be crucial on warm days.

    Tip: Frozen juice boxes can be used as ice packs to keep lunches cold! By the time lunchtime comes around, these should be defrosted and ready to drink.

    4. Keep it hot

    To keep your food hot for longer, preheat the thermos by filling it with boiling water for a few minutes, then dumping it and filling with piping hot food, or soup.