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Precautions for lunch boxes

Here are some tips to avoid food poisoning by properly storing the food in your packed lunches.

Keeping food cold

If you can, the best thing to do is to keep your food in the fridge until lunch time. If there is no fridge at your school or work, here are three alternate options:

  • Put an ice pack in your lunch box. An ice pack will keep food cold for around 4 to 6 hours. 
  • Add a frozen juice box or bottle of water to your lunch.
  • Use insulated Thermos-style containers that you have chilled ahead of time. These are great for salads, yogurt and dairy-based desserts.

Reheating food

Here are two good ways to reheat your food: 

Use a wide-mouthed insulated container or an insulated bottle designed to keep food hot. Fill them with boiling water and wait 10 to 15 minutes. Pour out the water, fill the container with your hot food and close tightly. These types of insulated containers keep food hot for 5 to 6 hours.

Use an ice pack to keep your food cool in an airtight container. Reheat your food in the microwave when you’re ready to eat. Use only microwavable containers or plastic wrap.

Preparation and cleaning

Wash your hands before preparing or eating food. Handwashing is a simple but important way to prevent contamination. Microorganisms spread primarily via people’s hands.

Rinse off fresh fruits and vegetables before cutting them or packing them up. Rinsing them with drinking water will remove dust and minimize bacteria and chemical residue. Remove bruised or broken areas, as harmful microorganisms can lurk inside them.

Wash your lunch box every day with soap and hot water. Adding baking soda to the water helps remove odours.

Last update: March 26, 2024


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