Lunch Safety: Making Sure Your Children’s Homemade School Lunches are Safe

According to Victoria’s Department of Health, salmonella poisoning in the state has
increased by 50% since 2012. Meanwhile, Queensland experienced the same rise in salmonella poisoning, with cases doubling in the past 12 months.

Partly, this is the reason the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia New Zealand released new guidelines encouraging those in the food service and processing industry to raise safety standards. The same concern for food preparation safety is also prompting demand for online food safety courses from institutions such as aia.edu.au.

For parents who wish to create an extra veil of protection for their little ones, there is no safer option than preparing their children’s school lunches at home. Here are two ways parents can ensure the safety and nutritiousness of their children’s homemade school lunches:

1. Cleanliness is essential.

You may have purchased the healthiest food options in the market, but even food that’s “perfectly safe” is prone to contamination. Food preparation professionals highlight the importance of refrigerating perishables as soon as you bring them home from the store. Before handling food, wash your hands properly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. It also pays to sanitise cutting boards and countertops with a bleach solution.

2. Invest in insulated lunchboxes.

When it comes to keeping food safe for consumption, the standard rule is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold until it is time to consume them. When the cooking temperature starts reaching 40-140 degrees, it provides the ideal condition for bacteria to grow. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for packed lunches to arrive at this temperature as students sit in warm classrooms, waiting for lunch time.

Storing your kids’ lunch in insulated bags or boxes can help keep their food safer. The best type of insulated lunch box features an insulated lining and a pocket, where you can place a thin freezer pack for storing cold food.

Careless preparation, storage, and consumption can lead to contamination. When keeping your child’s lunch safe, it is important to maintain cleanliness, as well as the right temperature.