Back-to-School Food Safety
Clean: Clean Hands, Clean Surfaces
- Wash hands with warm, soapy water before preparing or eating food.
- Wash utensils and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item.
- Use clean packaging and bags.
Separate: Don’t Cross-Contaminate
- Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a different one for meat and poultry to avoid cross contamination.
- At lunchtime, discard all used food packaging and paper bags. Do not reuse packaging because it could contaminate other food and cause foodborne illness.
Chill: Keep Lunches Cold
- Keeping food cold slows bacterial growth and keeps food safe.
- Harmful bacteria multiply rapidly in the “Danger Zone” — the temperatures between 40 and 140 °F.
- Keep perishable food refrigerated until time to leave home.
- Include a frozen gel pack or frozen juice box with perishable food in the insulated lunch bag or lunch box.
- Use an insulated soft-sided bag if possible. It’s best for keeping food cold.
- Store perishable items in a refrigerator (if available) immediately upon arrival.
Keep Hot Lunches Hot
- Use an insulated container to keep hot food hot — 140 °F or above.
- Cook frozen convenience meals according to package instructions, including standing time if using a microwave.
For more information, visit www.befoodsafe.org