How Top Keep Bacteria Off Your Bag Lunch

August 9, 2011 Updated Aug 10, 2011 at 8:48 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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How Top Keep Bacteria Off Your Bag Lunch

August 9, 2011 Updated Aug 10, 2011 at 8:48 AM EDT

(WKBW/Cleveland Clinic) Bag lunches can be an inexpensive and healthier alternative to cafeteria food, but a new study finds many parents of preschoolers are sending their kids to school with bag lunches that are reaching unsafe temperatures.

Elizabeth Pash, Registered Dietitian from the Cleveland Clinic says,
"They were not using properly insulated bags, and they weren't using cooling ice cubes or the cooling blocks for the food. And most of the food, when it was served to the children, was at room temperature or above the recommended safe temperature."

Researchers measured the temperatures of more than 700 preschoolers' bag lunches at nine Texas child care centers.

They found only 2 percent of lunches with perishable items, like cheese, milk, or lunch meats, were in a safe temperature zone, and nearly 40 percent of the lunches had no ice packs.

Researchers say parents should be educated on safe food packing practices in order to prevent bacteria from growing and potentially causing illness.

Pash says the rules apply to everyone bringing a lunch to school or work. She says, "If you don't have the ability to refrigerate that lunch, you need to use the ice packs and an insulated, proper lunch
box."

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