Your Kid’s Lunch may be Harboring Bacteria
A recent study reveals that kids’ school lunches may become hotter as the day goes by, making the food unsafe for consumption. This could happen even if the lunch is packed with ice in insulated containers. The study found that 90% of preschoolers’ lunches were unsafe because of high temperatures.
Bacteria in School Lunch
High temperatures may increase the risk of foodborne pathogens breeding in the lunch. At high temperatures, bacteria breed quickly, increasing the chances of foodborne illness. Thus, lunches packed at home can turn out to be dangerous especially for kids below five years. The findings of this study will be published in the September issue of Pediatrics journal.
Unsafe Temperatures for Food
In the study, the researchers monitored the temperatures of food items taken from more than 700 lunches. These items were tested about an hour and half before lunch time. About 90% of the kids’ lunches were found to be at room temperature. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends foods should not be kept at room temperature beyond two hours. Even using ice packs in the lunch boxes could not keep the food items at safe temperatures.
Fridges do not Help
Even using refrigerators did not help as the food was packed in insulated containers, which prevented them from becoming cold. The fridges were also overcrowded and frequent opening increased their storage temperature.
How to Transport Your Kid’s School Lunch
Some health experts say parents should pack foods like fruits which are not dependant on the storage temperature. But, avoiding perishable foods can affect the kids’ nutrition. Instead, the researchers suggest that the kids’ lunch should be transported to the day care center inside a cooler, and on reaching the center, the lunch should be placed immediately inside the refrigerator.