Lunchboxes: bye bye bacteria!

Temperature and germs.ZoomZoom (104KB)
© Armand-Frappier Museum

Article written by Martine Isabelle and published in L'Écho de Laval, August 19, 2010.

The presence and proliferation of undesirable bacteria on food in lunchboxes can be reduced by implementing simple and effective measures. Did you know that 100 bacteria present in an unrefrigerated sandwich can produce 1,000,000 bacteria in one morning? Armed with this knowledge, let's examine more closely the measures that are available to you to prevent this scenario from happening in your child’s lunchbox.

1. Wash, wash

Hand washing before and after handling food is an effective measure to prevent food poisoning. Work surfaces and kitchen utensils must also be cleaned. The lunchbox should be washed out daily. Did you know that fresh fruits and vegetables are often contaminated with bacteria? Don’t forget to wash them under running water.

2. Brrrr…bacteria are sensitive to cold!

Perishable foods (meat, eggs, mayonnaise, milk products, leftovers) must be kept cold in the lunchbox. The use of ice packs or frozen juice boxes helps to maintain a temperature between 0°C and 4°C, temperatures at which bacteria will not succeed in multiplying. Insulated lunchboxes also contribute to maintaining a safe temperature.

3. Heat, to keep bacteria away from food

Hot meals can be maintained at a temperature above 60°C with proper use of a thermos container. However, if a microwave oven is available to your child, it is preferable to keep the meal cold and reheat it on site.

In the presence of these simple and effective measures (cleanliness, cold, heat), undesirable microorganisms will not have a chance!