Another school year is right around the corner. Moms, we know you already have a ton to worry about but now, you better make sure their lunchboxes are clean in order to protect them against foodborne illnesses, experts say.
Dirty lunchboxes may contain bacteria that can make your youngsters sick, according to Natasha Haynes, a family and consumer sciences agent for Mississippi State University. You may not be aware just how much bacteria and grime a lunchbox can pick up throughout the day. Hygiene first!
Experts say that kids don’t always practice proper hygiene when eating their lunches. They don’t usually wash their hands before eating (and most of their food is probably finger food) and they may even put their lunch on the cafeteria table.
Experts suggest parents should put a small bottle of antibacterial gel with a tight-fitting lid in children's lunchboxes. They can use it before and after eating. You should also include a large paper towel or some sort of fabric placement that you can wash in their lunch box that they can put their lunch on so it doesn’t touch the table’s surface.
And moms, you can help out by keeping your little ones healthy. Follow proper hygiene and food safety practices when packing their lunches.
"No matter who prepares the food and packs the lunch, start with clean hands, a clean work surface and a clean lunchbox. If lunch containers are not washed daily, crumbs and spills can accumulate and result in a build-up of bacteria," Haynes said. Don’t forget to disinfect kitchen surfaces, kitchen equipment and refrigerator handles regularly.
It's also important to wash fruits and vegetables before packing them in a child's lunch, and to keep the lunch cold. Place an ice pack or frozen juice box in the lunchbox if there’s no access to a fridge.
Following all of these proper hygiene rules will prevent any bacteria from finding their way into your child’s food and keep them healthy for a successful school year!