Students from all over the Valley started the 2017-18 school year last month.  Many parents pack lunches for their children and don’t want to cut corners when it comes to proper food handling.

Here are some safety tips for packing a lunch:

  • Perishable food (refrigerated), including deli meat, leftovers, string cheese and yogurt, must be kept cold at all times.
  • Insulated, soft-sided lunch boxes or bags are best for keeping food cold.
  • Two cold packs should be included in a packed lunch if perishable items are included.
  • Frozen water or juice can be used as a freezer pack and then can be used as beverages by lunchtime.
  • Lunches should be refrigerated overnight if made the night before.
  • Some food is safe without a cold source. Items that don’t require refrigeration include whole fruits and vegetables, chips, breads, crackers, peanut butter, jelly, mustard, fruit rollups and pickles.
  • Insulated containers should be used to keep hot lunches like soup or chili at a warm temperature.
  • All leftover food should be discarded after lunch, along with all used food packaging and paper bags.
  • Do not reuse packaging because it could contaminate other food and cause foodborne illness.
  • Wash out soft-side lunch bag with a disinfectant and let it air dry.

Careful planning and packing creates a safe lunch for your child! If you have any questions regarding packing lunches, please call Mesa County Public Health at 970-248-6900.