-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Aug. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Keeping children's
lunchboxes clean helps protect them from foodborne illness, an
That's because dirty lunchboxes may contain bacteria that can
make youngsters sick, explained Natasha Haynes, a family and
consumer sciences agent for Mississippi State University.
And parents may not be aware of how much grime their kid's
lunchbox picks up in a day. "Kids don't always wash their hands
before handling their lunchboxes and food. Since most lunches
include finger foods, it's easy to see how germs and bacteria can
make kids sick," she said in a university news release.
Along with keeping lunchboxes clean, parents should put a small
bottle of antibacterial gel with a tight-fitting lid in children's
lunchboxes. They can use the gel if they don't have a chance to
wash their hands with soap and water before they eat lunch.
"Once in the cafeteria, kids should avoid setting down their food on the table," Haynes said. "Include a paper towel, a piece of wax paper, or even a small fabric placemat that can be washed at home to help children keep their food off surfaces that may have been used by multiple people."
It's also important to follow proper hygiene and food safety
practices when packing 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.
Disinfect kitchen surfaces, such as kitchen equipment and
refrigerator handles, regularly. "Don't forget cutting boards,
knives, dish-drying towels and sponges or dish cloths," she
It's also important to wash fruits and vegetables before packing
them in a child's lunch, and to keep the lunch cold. If the school
doesn't have a fridge, place an ice pack or frozen juice box in the
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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