Any food that needs to be refrigerated is potentially hazardous in a bagged lunch.  That includes meats, dairy products, mayonnaise, and most dressings.  These foods need to be stored below 40 degrees.  The best way to do this is with an insulated lunch bag.  Freeze the beverage and use that to keep the bag’s contents below forty degrees until lunch.  If that is not adequate, use some of the frozen “blue ice” coolers that can be purchased at department stores.

If Johnny doesn’t eat his tuna sandwich at school, check it carefully before letting him eat it as an afternoon snack.  In many cases, the beverage has long since melted and the tuna sandwich has been above forty degrees for hours.

Here are some other hints for keeping that lunch safe:

• If you make lunches the night before, keep them in the refrigerator overnight.  Not only will that protect the lunch overnight, but a chilled lunch will help keep the beverage frozen during the day.

• Wash all fruits and vegetables carefully before packing them in the lunch.

• It goes without saying; wash your hands before preparing the lunch.

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