Brown-bagging has long been considered the quintessential method for school lunch since the days most parents roamed the halls themselves, but according to a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, how you go about packing it could make your child sick.
According to the University of Texas, a whopping 99% of the 700 box lunches belonging to preschoolers contained foods that were kept at unsafe temperatures. These significant results revealed an accommodating environment for bacteria to grow, ultimately the cause of food poisoning and other bacterial infection.
Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Chief Medical Editor for NBC, warns that foods should stay out of the “no-man zone”, an unsafe temperature range warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit for cold foods and no less than 140 degrees Fahrenheit for hot foods. Any food that is kept in between this range for more than two hours is subject to contamination.
Surprisingly, 40% of the lunches involved in the study contained an ice pack to regulate temperature and failed, proving that the most efficient way of ensuring proper food safety of school lunches is by refrigeration — doubling up on the ice packs could be a safe alternative.
Other recommended ways to ensure food safety are: packing non-perishable foods, including snap-peas and mixed nuts and skipping the questionable spreads such as mayonnaise on sandwiches.