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Study: Overwhelming Majority Of Packed School Lunches Unsafe To Eat

Lunchbox Study
Getty Images/ Scott Olson

When you pack your child’s lunch for camp or the upcoming school year, adding another icepack could keep your child healthier.  A new study found 98-percent of school lunches are not as cold or as hot as they should be to be eaten safely.

The study conducted by the University of Texas in Austin tested 700 lunches of preschool children between the ages of 3-and-5-years-old.  CNN  reports the research found 40-percent of parents did not bother to pack any ice in their children’s lunches.  Even with ice, 90-percent of the perishable foods had entered the danger zone.  When temperatures deviate from the safe zone, bacteria may form potentially spoiling food.  So, if your child complains of a stomachache or is vomiting or has diarrhea, it may be due to a spoiled lunch. 

What can you do to keep your child safer?

1.  How about putting your child’s milk, juice or water in the freezer. It can then serve as a second ice pack and help keep other foods cold. You can also do this with other foods as such as yogurt or soft cheeses.  

2.  If you’re sending a whole apple or an orange, which normally don’t need to be refrigerated, put it in the fridge anyway to get cold. This will help keep the overall temperature of the lunch box lower.

3.  When you buy your child’s lunchbox this year, pick one that’s insulated.  

4.  Always use an ice pack. If you have room, try to use more than one.

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